Candidates can start filing as of Monday

The filing period for this year’s election begins Monday in Kitsap County, with potential candidates having until 4 p.m. on July 29 to formally declare for public office.

Filing fees are 1 percent of the yearly salary for the office in question. For example, Superior Court Judge Sally Olsen will pay $1,244.11 to file, while those running for volunteer offices pay nothing.

Prospective candidates must file in person at the county elections office inside Port Orchard’s Givens Center, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The auditor will post names of all those filing twice daily, in the early afternoon and after the close of business.

The primary election, to take place Sept. 20, is the first since Kitsap County became a vote-by-mail zone. But county elections manager Dolores Gilmore said the last two off-year elections have been mail-only contests.

This year, Election Day is Nov. 8. Both the primary and election days are essentially deadlines for ballots to arrive in the Kitsap County Auditor’s office, although drop boxes will be available in several county locations on these days.

Gilmore said the odd-year elections are generally non-partisan, while those occurring in even-numbered years are attached to parties. This year there are several council-level elections, along with mayoral contests in Poulsbo, Bainbridge Island and Bremerton.

All incumbents are running in these elections. Poulsbo mayor Donna Jean Bruce is the only one with announced opposition.

Olsen, appointed to the bench in January, is running to complete a term that ends in 2008.

Olsen announced her intention to run for the seat in February and subsequently distributed an endorsement letter signed by several public officials. This practice was criticized by Kris Danielson of Port Orchard, whose husband, Bruce Danielson, ran against Judge Anna Laurie last year.

“This endorsement isn’t based on who is better qualified,” Danielson said. “It has to do with which campaign manager gets there first. And since they do this before everyone has filed, they’re not making an objective decision and are discouraging anyone who may want to run for the seat.”

Danielson said she favored a more detailed endorsement process, in which a committee interviews all candidates before making a recommendation.

Central Kitsap Commissioner Patty Lent said commissioners don’t generally offer their endorsement, but will respond when asked. In a judge’s case, she said the commissioners will usually support a judge’s effort to gain a full term in order to develop a record.

Prosecuting Attorney Russ Hauge, whose name is also on the endorsement letter, said, “I can’t imagine another candidate that I would favor above Judge Olsen.”

Hauge is involving himself in one of the primary election’s highest visibility issues, a measure that would raise sales tax by .15 percent to support law enforcement throughout the county. The extra money would be used to hire police officers and support drug court, among other things.

Hauge and other supporters of the bill — including Sheriff Steve Boyer — hope the new funds could support preventive rather than reactive law enforcement measures.

Hauge said he had kicked in some of his own money to support the campaign, and expects to speak on behalf of the measure throughout the county over the next few months.

“You will not find anyone who says that we should not do these things,” Hauge said, “although some people may feel that it is the responsibility of the local municipalities to pay for them. But they are already paying for a lot of things. And this is the only chance the Legislature has given us to generate funding.”

In order to pass, the measure needs 50 percent of the vote plus one in the primary election. It is not slated for the November ballot.

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