Kitsap voters oust favored candidates
September 11, 2008 · Updated 11:05 AM
Conventional logic was turned on its head in two Kitsap County political contests during Tuesday night’s primary election, as the perceived front-runners came in third and were disqualified in their respective races.
Republican Tim Matthes drew the most votes in the South Kitsap Commissioner's race, followed by Democrat Charlotte Garrido — who preceded current two-term SK Commissioner Jan Angel in that office.
Monty Mahan, who was the first to declare for the seat and earned the endorsement of local mayors, came in third.
For the Kitsap County Superior Court judgeship, Jeanette Dalton had the lead with Bruce Danielson finishing second.
Greg Wall, who was endorsed by Central Kitsap Commissioner Josh Brown, Kitsap County Prosecutor Russ Hauge and several other high-profile lawyers, finished a disappointing third.
Both contests are for seats that opened up with the retirement of the incumbent. And both showed wide margins that are not expected to change when all the votes are counted.
Matthes led the total with 4,831 votes (41.78 percent), while Garrido managed 3,820 (33.03 percent) .
Mahan tallied 2,365 votes (20.45 percent), while Independent candidate Paul Nuchims, who withdrew from the race this weekend, received 531 votes (4.59 percent).
Garrido has run in the past five commissioner's races, serving one term.
She was defeated in the 2000 Democratic primary by Dusty Wiley, who was in turn defeated by Angel.
Garrido unsuccessfully challenged Angel in 2004.
"I've been diligently active in the community for 31 years, " she said of her persistence. "This is a unique county, and I think I can make a difference."
Matthes said he was "surprised and relieved" about coming in first, but said he expected to face Mahan in the general election.
He expected to run a strong campaign against Garrido, saying, "Charlotte has a strong constituency in South Kitsap but she has a history. I expect we will examine some of the votes she made as commissioner."
Only South Kitsap residents voted in the Tuesday primary, but the two candidates will face voters throughout the county in the fall.
Garrido is thought to have an advantage in North Kitsap and Bainbridge Island, both heavily Democratic, but Matthes does not concede these areas.
He said he will campaign heavily up north, adding, "A lot of people tell me I shouldn't even bother with Bainbridge Island, but I think I can do well there."
Mahan said he was surprised by the third place finish, although he was not as sure of his victory as some of his supporters.
"I was in a state of shock when I heard the first results,” Mahan said. "I think it was a low turnout, which worked in Tim's favor."
In fact, Kitsap County Elections Supervisor Dolores Gilmore said the turnout was higher than anticipated.
A total of 40,000 votes were counted Tuesday, with another 30,000 expected.
Even with the large ballot volume coming in, she does not expect the outcomes will be affected.
"When the percentages are this far apart, it is rare that the results change," Gilmore said.
Dalton, who was the most recent entry in the judge's race, received 14,718 (43.29 percent), followed by 11,132 (32.74 percent) for Danielson and 8,065 (23.72 percent) for Wall.
Dalton congratulated Wall for a well-run race, saying, "He is a well-qualified candidate and it was a pleasure appearing with him at several forums."
She did not have the same praise for Danielson, who has declined to campaign in front of or accept money from local attorneys.
Danielson was rated as "unqualified" to be a judge by the local Bar Association, and was also the subject of two anonymous document leaks criticizing his past conduct.
While Dalton said "the Bar Association has spoken," she promised to run a positive campaign.
"I have the best experience and the qualifications to be a judge," she said. "I have already been tested. And I trust the voters to elect the candidate who is most highly qualified."
Danielson said he thought Wall would get more votes but was not surprised by his own showing.
"I am receiving support from across the board and from many different sources," he said. "My message is resonating."
He said his message included the restructuring of court procedures and the equal application of the law.
Tuesday's primary also included two South Kitsap legislative races where there were only two candidates — meaning the results had no effect on the fall contest.
Here, South Kitsap Commissioner Jan Angel edged Former Port Orchard Mayor Kim Abel, 5,056 (51.73 percent) to 4,672 (47.81 percent).
Also in the 26th District, incumbent Rep. Larry Seaquist drew 5,592 (58.41 percent) votes over Marlyn Jensen, who received 3,951 votes (41.27 percent).
The 26th District covers both Kitsap and Pierce Counties, where Republicans Angel and Jensen made better showings (although the leader did not change).
In Pierce, Angel received 4,433 votes (53.21 percent) to 3,872 (46.48 percent) for Abel. Seaquist prevailed with 4,379 votes (52.28 percent) to Jensen's 3,971 (47.41 percent).