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Port Orchard politicians vie for Legislative seat

The contest for the seat to be vacated by Rep. Pat Lantz (D-Gig Harbor) is heating up, with both candidates increasing fundraising efforts and spending much of their campaign time soliciting votes door to door.

The race between South Kitsap Commissioner Jan Angel, a Republican, and Democratic former Port Orchard Mayor Kim Abel, is thought to be the hottest local race this year.

Both candidates are well known in their district and have a strong public service record.

And while both are not as well known in the southern part of the district, Port Orchard residents are assured of having one of their own representing them in the next Legislature.

“People in South Kitsap already know who both of us are,” Angel said. “I’m pleased with the reception I have gotten in both Kitsap and Pierce counties.”

Last week, Abel issued a press release that claimed she had outpaced Angel four to one for June fundraising, $18,182.50 to $4,215.

Angel said Abel’s calculations were incorrect, and she has not yet filed her June totals.

She did not release specific numbers, but indicated she had raised more than Abel during the specified period.

“I am well ahead of her,” Angel said of Abel.

Both candidates said they had plans for the money, but that much of it would go to support their door to door efforts.

Even if transportation costs are minimal for this activity, doorbelling candidates must prepare printed flyers to leave at every home.

Not only must the flyers explain the candidate’s position they can’t look cheap.

Direct mail is another necessary campaign tool.

“A lot of things are starting to happen in my campaign,” Abel said. “My fundraising success proves that I am getting through to people. I am pleased that my message is resonating with the voters.”

“We have pages and pages of contributors from all throughout the district,” Angel said. “This is truly grassroots politics.”

The candidates will face off twice: The Aug. 19 primary, which will take the pulse of the voters, and the Nov. 4 election that will decide who will serve.

Abel expects twice as many people will vote in November than August, but she expects to work harder after the primary no matter what the result.

Angel is encouraging her supporters to vote in the primary, saying “people are getting their ballots in the mail so they may as well vote.” 

This is true for Kitsap, which is in its third year as a vote by mail county.

However, half the district is in Pierce County, which still uses voting booths as its default.

The candidates have each held kickoff events and fundraisers, but have yet to meet face to face in a public debate.

The first such event is scheduled for July 24 in Bremerton at the Kitsap Community Resources headquarters.

After that, about five face to face events will take place prior to the election.

Both candidates feel that campaigning door to door has energized the process.

“Doorbelling is the best part of campaigning,” Abel said.

Added Angel, “It is how we know what people are thinking.”

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