Matthes realistic, but still not ready to concede
November 17, 2008 · Updated 4:42 PM
t SK commissioner candidate’s chances slim, but the margin keeps narrowing.
While his victory now seems to be a mathematical and statistical impossibility, South Kitsap commissioner candidate Tim Matthes has not yet conceded the election to apparent winner Charlotte Garrido.
“It doesn’t look good,” Matthes said on Monday. “But I want to keep my promise, and recognize that every vote counts.”
Garrido has led the vote count since the Nov. 4 election, although her margin has narrowed. As of last Friday she had 57,276 (50.59 percent) to Matthes’ 55,648 (49.15 percent) with approximately 750 votes left to count, along with another 750 questioned votes to be returned.
Kitsap County Elections Director Dolores Gilmore said that votes continue to trickle in, but at a slow rate.
The margin of victory was 1.41 percent, or 1,528 votes. Matthes would need to gain all of these votes to win, or about half that amount to trigger an automatic recount.
Gilmore said it wasn’t likely that the numbers would narrow enough to cause a recount.
Regardless of the outcome, anyone can request a recount as long as they pay 15 cents per ballot (25 cents for a hand recount). Matthes does not seem inclined to request this “unless I get some new information or a large campaign donation.”
Matthes said he will concede the election after it is certified, which will occur Nov. 25.
He is also hanging onto the hope that several new ballots could be discovered, or that votes from the military will arrive.
If this were to occur the opposition would be certain to cry foul and insist on a recount, as it happened in the 2004 governor’s race.
This doesn’t seem to bother Matthes, who said “it would be nice if a bag of votes was found that benefited us.”
By “us,” Matthes was referring to his Republican party preference.
Only one local Republican, 26th District state Rep.-elect Jan Angel, won her race this year.
Democrats are confident in their victory, with Garrido saying, “I believe when all is said and done I will be commissioner.”
Kitsap County Democratic Chairman Carl Olson also has no doubt that Garrido will prevail, while respecting Matthes’ right to not throw in the towel until he’s ready.
“It’s up to the candidate,” Olson said. “We are happy to wait as long as is needed. But he needs to look at the math. There will be a time where it will be clear that his election is not going to happen. He needs to be in touch with reality.”
Even if the results are clear to others, Matthes is determined to hang on as long as possible.
“I have gained a little bit with each new count,” he said. “I really didn’t expect that it would be this close.”