Oke, McMahan cling to leads

With plenty of ballots left to count and less than 200 votes separating them, the race between 26th District Sen. Bob Oke, R-Port Orchard, and Democratic challenger Betty Ringlee was far from over Thursday afternoon, but Ringlee was already out picking up her campaign signs.

“I hope the latest trend holds,” Gig Harbor resident and Peninsula School Board President Ringlee said. “I was way up in the absentees.”

With Oke claiming 50.4 percent of the vote and Ringlee with 49.6, she said she was not surprised at how close the race was.

“It’s a very split district,” Ringlee said. “The only thing I was surprised about was how big the poll turnout was. But I think I did an incredible job in the weeks I had after the primary.”

Ringlee said if Oke does end up winning, she is not sure if she will try again.

“I’ll just have to see what Mr. Oke does in the next four years,” Ringlee said. “I can’t believe the public wants 16 years of him.”

Oke, 62, and retired after 26 years in the U.S. Navy said before the election that he had also considered retiring from the Senate.

“My goal in life was to reach 62 and pull the plug, but I decided I didn’t want people here to lose such a strong voice in Olympia,” Oke said. “But if you happen to choose (Ringlee) instead of me, I won’t spend more than one day being sad. The very next day I’ll be out hunting and fishing.”

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