Elections

Election Guide: 23rd District State Representative Position 1

tate Representative District 26, Position 1

Former Port Orchard Mayor Kim Abel (D), vs. South Kitsap Commissioner Jan Angel (R)

The contest between Kim Abel and Jan Angel is one of the most closely watched races in the county. Both are well known in the community and have large groups of passionate supporters.

Even with this enthusiasm, the prevailing opinion is that the margin is narrow.

Supporters of each say pretty much the same thing: “I’m staying with Jan/Kim. But it will be really close.”

The candidates faced each other in the August primary. Angel won both counties, gaining 18,108 votes to Abel’s 15,245. These results were inconclusive, many voters knew the contest was not decisive and did not participate.

The district is now represented by four-term Rep. Pat Lantz (D-Gig Harbor) who retired at the end of the 2008 Legislative Session.

Abel, 50, served one term as Port Orchard mayor, but declined to run for a second term.

Angel, 61, served two terms as county commissioner, most of that time in the political minority.

Abel was elected as Port Orchard mayor in 2003, unseating incumbent Jay Weatherill.

During her mayoral term she always seemed positioned for higher office and was encouraged to challenge Angel for the South Kitsap commissioner’s seat. When she announced that she would not seek another mayoral in 2007, it was assumed that she would run against Angel.

Shortly afterward Angel announced that she would not seek a third term as commissioner, a decision she seemed to reconsider regularly.

At the beginning of 2008 she announced her plans to run for Lantz’s seat, which at that time seemed like less of a sure thing than a challenge against Rep. Larry Seaquist, who is serving his first term.

In a seemingly orchestrated move, Lantz’ retirement and Abel’s candidacy were announced the same day. So Abel and Angel were opposing each other, but not in the expected arena.

On one level, this represents a classic Democrat versus Republican race. Angel has a business background and has advocated property rights during her time as commissioner.

Abel prioritizes education and “green” energy development.

Angel favored establishing a NASCAR track in Kitsap County, Abel did not.

Either way, there will be no get-acquianted period. Both candidates are familiar to local voters, and have a working relationship with county’s elected officials.

And Port Orchard will have its own voice in the State House of Representatives.

“We have a state that is very unfriendly to businesses,” Angel said. “And what better way to change that environment than by sending someone with a strong business background to Olympia? The (business and occupation) tax has got to go. Considering the deficit the state is currently running, I’m not saying it could be eliminated overnight, but the point is, the best way to improve a state’s economic well-being is by generating more jobs. And you don’t do that by driving companies out of business with high taxes and more regulations.”

“As a mayor, you have to get things done,” Abel said. “And I got things done in Port Orchard. You have to make tough choices sometimes and do things that aren’t popular, but we were able to do those things in Port Orchard. We also know we have to make changes in this state and I’ve shown I know how to do that.”

Abel’s endorsements include both Washington U.S. senators and two local congressmen, the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO (along with several other unions) and the League of Education Voters.

Angel is supported bu former U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton, Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed and the Kitsap County Association of Realtors, among others.

Web sites: www.kimabel.com; www.janangel.com

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