Rolfes, Appleton appear headed back to Olympia

State Rep. Christine Rolfes )right) engages with supporter Joyce Merkel Tuesday at the Kitsap County Democratic Party headquarters in Silverdale. - Brad Camp/For the Review
State Rep. Christine Rolfes )right) engages with supporter Joyce Merkel Tuesday at the Kitsap County Democratic Party headquarters in Silverdale.
— image credit: Brad Camp/For the Review

Incumbent state Reps. Christine Rolfes of Bainbridge Island and Sherry Appleton of Poulsbo are leading their Republican opponents in early unofficial Kitsap County election results released Tuesday evening.

In races for State Representative District 1, Pos. 2:

• Rolfes had gathered 55.06 percent (17,188) to opponent James Olsen's 44.77 percent (13,977) of the vote;

• Appleton's lead over Peter DeBoer of Kingston was slimmer – 52.37 percent (16,452) for her compared to DeBoer's 47.44 percent (14,902) of the vote.

The 23rd District race featuring Rolfes and Olsen, both Bainbridge Island residents, was perhaps one of the most heated races in the state. Olsen aggressively attacked the incumbent for her campaign spending and other issues, while Rolfes took a non-combative approach during her public appearances.

After winning her third consecutive trip back to Olympia, Rolfes said: "I worked hard going door to door and tried to keep a constructive campaign going forward. It was difficult to do," she said.

Olsen said he plans to run again.

"This was just a dress rehearsal, a first time for a quick learning curve," he said. "The way I look at it, Ms. Rolfes may wish she lost the race. I'm going to be legislatively bird-dogging her for the next two years so people will know the real her. Yes, I will run again."

Rolfes said she likened the campaign to the one she ran in 2006 against "a tough incumbent" when she received about 55 percent of the vote.

"I felt the reception and the conversations at the doors I knocked on were similar than those in 2006, in fact, they were generally more supportive," she said. "My guess was that this outcome would mirror the one in 2006 and it turned out that way."

While the campaign may have been a challenge, she said she's happy to have the opportunity to return to Olympia.

"It's going to be tough because there's a lot of hard work to do," she said. "We're going to have to cut another four of five billion dollars out of the budget."

Olsen said he was encouraged "after spending a lot of time talking to a lot of people all over the district, except for Bainbridge Island, and the people had a tremendous resonance. They are very unhappy about what's going on in Olympia."

Appleton said her caring for her constituents appears to have paid off again.

"I worked hard and I think the citizens knew that I always worked hard for them so they returned me to office," Appleton said.

DeBoer remained positive saying the results were preliminary.

"Half the votes are still out," DeBoer said. "So we'll see."

Both of the Bainbridge Island School District's levies appear to be passing. The operations/supplemental levy had just over 60 percent of the nearly 7,000 votes counted, while the technology levy had a 55 to 45 percent lead.

The Kitsap Regional Library levy appears headed for defeat, however, with 58.45 percent of the ballots cast against its passage. The early votes were 34,493 to 24,515 against it.

U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee (D-District 1) held a double-digit lead over Republican challenger James Watkins. The Bainbridge Island resident had gathered 55.57 percent of the 147,590 votes counted by 8:30 p.m.

In the State Supreme Court Position 6 race, incumbent Richard Sanders held a slight lead over Bainbridge Island's Charles Wiggins. With 1,084,281 ballots counted statewide by 9 p.m., Sanders had 51.07 percent of the votes, leading Wiggins by some 18,000 votes.

All of the county votes were counted before the polls closed at 8 p.m., then released a few minutes later. The next update from the County Auditor's Office will occur at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

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