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Wyatt files against Putaansuu, Childs unopposed for second term

Former Port Orchard City Councilman Rick Wyatt filed his candidacy papers on Friday afternoon in a bid to reclaim a seat on the council where he previously served.

Wyatt will oppose Position 3 City Councilman Rob Putaansuu, who was appointed to the position and has yet to run in an opposed election. Jerry Childs, who occupies the two-year at large county seat, did not draw any opposition and will be elected to another term by acclamation.

“I feel with the economy with the way it is and people losing their jobs we want to be very careful what we do with the citizens’ money,” Wyatt said shortly after filing. “I want to make sure that the money is protected during this period of growth.”

Wyatt was defeated in his 2007 re-election bid by Fred Olin.

Wyatt said that his work on the council set the stage for the annexations that are now in progress and that Mayor Lary Coppola is providing good leadership for this growth.

“I said a long time ago that we should annex to the limits of the Urban Growth Area,” he said. “At the time there wasn’t a lot of support for the idea. I want to make sure we don’t get in over our heads with these annexations, because the average person doesn’t think in terms of dollars and cents.”

As of Friday morning, it appeared that both Childs and Putaansuu would run unopposed. Wyatt filed in the last 30 minutes before the deadline.

Another candidate, Port Orchard businesswoman Tristan Benz, began to filing her declaration of candidacy after Wyatt left, asking the elections staff which seats were open. She was told that Childs was unopposed but chose to challenge Putaansuu “because three is my lucky number.”

Benz was not able to complete the filing process because the staff determined that she lives outside of the city limits and was ineligible to serve on the council.

“It turns out that I am geographically challenged,” she said. “I was really looking to get involved.”

Benz said she was speaking for the people who were “sitting on their couches grumbling about how nobody is running against these people. That’s exactly what I was looking to do.”

If Benz had successfully filed her candidacy papers it would have forced the only primary contest in this year’s council races. Elections supervisor Dolores Gilmore said this would not have changed the cost of the election, as there is already a contested school board race in the South Kitsap area.

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