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Fire race still razor-thin as absentees tallied

There were few surprises in Tuesday’s Port Orchard City Council election results.

All three unchallenged candidates — incumbents Rick Wyatt and John Clauson and Rita DiIenno, who replaces retiring Councilman Don Morrison — skated away with more than 95 percent of the vote apiece. The only contested city council seat — Bob Geiger’s at-large position — resulted in Geiger burying first-time candidate Ron Rice 575 votes to 362.

This year is, however, the first time any candidate challenging the 40-plus-year council veteran has managed to draw nearly 40 percent of the vote. Typically, Geiger faces no challengers, even though his position is up for reelection every two years, as opposed to the four-year terms attached to the other six seats.

Rice said he was disappointed not to win but said he was also rather relieved not to have the extra work load this winter. He said he is not ruling out another run sometime in the future.

“Two years is not too long a time (to the next election), so I might run again,” Rice said.

Parks Commissioner

As of Tuesday evening, it appeared Melissa Lund was the leader in the seven-way run-off for the South Kitsap Parks and Recreation District’s commissioner position No. 4. However, because the second-place candidate, Charisse Dahlke, only trailed Lund by 300 votes with an estimated 5,000-odd votes left to count, those initial results could reverse in the days to come.

The other three races for the parks board were uncontested — each candidate received at least 95 percent of the vote.

Fire Commissioner

The Fire District 7 commissioner races were the tightest of all; both pairs of candidates were separated by 1,000 votes or less. Elections supervisors estimate there may be another 6,000 votes in the fire district left to count — enough to make a big difference in the election.

As of Tuesday night, incumbent Roger Wiley led challenger Scott Lucke 5,315 votes to 4,257 — a difference of 1,058 votes.

Incumbent Dave Gelsleichter led challenger Phil Seratt 4,729 votes to 4,202 — a margin of only 527 votes.

Another vote count was scheduled for yesterday afternoon, but results were not available at press time.

The seven other elections held in South Kitsap all involved uncontested seats held by incumbents.

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