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Abel denies she's eyeing Central Kitsap post

The vacancy that would be created by the appointment of 23rd District State Sen. Phil Rockefeller (D-Bainbridge Island) as regional director of the Environmental Protection Agency could, in turn, create a domino effect among local political office-holders.

But former Port Orchard Mayor Kim Abel says she has no plans to pursue any potential openings.

Abel, who did not run for a second term as mayor, instead sought a seat in the Washington State Legislature but was defeated by former South Kitsap Commissioner Jan Angel in November.

“I have no plans to run for anything right now,” Abel said on Friday.

Rumors that Abel had leased a residence in Central Kitsap had circulated this week, fueling speculation she was positioning herself for an appointment to the state legislature or as county commissioner.

Should Rockefeller be tapped for the EPA job, his Senate seat would be filled by one of three candidates recommended by the Kitsap County Democrats and approved by the Kitsap County commissioners.

The logical choice for such an opening, the thinking went, would be one of the 23rd District’s two members in the state House of Representatives, either Christine Rolfes or Sherry Appleton — which would, in turn, create an opening for a new House member.

One possible candidate for that opening — or for the Senate seat — could be Central Kitsap Commissioner Josh Brown.

Rumors persisted this week that Abel had leased a home in Central Kitsap, which would enable her to be appointed as Brown’s replacement should he be named to either post.

But Abel denied having signed any new leases, and said she and her husband were happy in their current home — especially now that their children had grown.

“We have a lot of room,” she said. “We like it there.”

Bob Abel overheard the query about the matter, and asked of his wife, “So where are we moving?”

If Rockefeller takes the EPA job, 23rd District Democratic Chairman Rob Gelder said the party would need to meet once to fill the open seat, and again to replace Rolfes, Appleton or Brown — if they, too, changed jobs.

Should Brown be replaced, he would be chosen by party members from all of Kitsap County instead of just the 23rd district.

“We can only fill one vacancy at a time,” Gelder said.

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