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Peters, Bonkowski, Ward and Levan emerge from primary
Incumbent Barry Peters and Steven Bonkowski have emerged as the winners of the at-large seat, while David Ward and Joe Levan collected the most votes for the central seat in the primary race for the Bainbridge Island City Council.
The winners will square off in the Nov. 8 general election, when voters from throughout the island will cast ballots on both races. In the primary, only people living in the Central Ward cast votes for that seat.
Dolores Gilmore, Kitsap County elections manager, said a large majority of the ballots have been counted for the county and Bainbridge Island, and the remaining ballots are unlikely to change the outcome of the top two finishers in the City Council races. The votes that come in tomorrow will be from either the drop locations or ballots postmarked with today's date.
Countywide, an estimated 3,000 ballots are left to count, with 12,508 counted as of 8 p.m. Tuesday. The next vote update will be at 5 p.m. Wednesday.
Voter turnout so far is 25.68 percent. The auditor's office had originally expected a turnout between 35 and 40 percent, but Gilmore estimates that will be closer to 30 to 35 percent countywide.
Both candidates for the seat point to city finances as a key pillar to their campaigns leading up to November.
Peters, who ran unopposed in 2007, said he was grateful for the vote of confidence from the community in Tuesday's primary results.
"I have asked a lot of people how they feel about the city and people tell me they see a very significant improvement over the last year," said Peters. "I think that's what showed up tonight in the primary vote. People appreciate that the city is moving in the right direction and is back on the road to financial soundness."
Peters said he looks forward to using his general election campaign as a chance to continue to listen to concerns and find out what islanders see as the city's long-term opportunities.
Bonkowski, who was less than 300 votes from Peters in the early returns, said he was also pleased with the primary results. Despite election-jitters from his wife, he thought he did all he could prior to the primary vote.
"I think I had a balanced approach of being concerned for citizens and a strong business background that showed through in my comments and the way I addressed residents concerns," said Bonkowski.
Bonkowski, who served as vice-president for an aerospace company before retiring, said he plans to continue campaigning into November as he did leading up to the primary.
"I will let Barry talk about his background and ideas for the future, and then let the people decide which candidate they believe will give them the kind of island they want to have in the future."
Central ward seat
Levan, who is an municipal attorney with considerable experience working with small cities in the state, said that his background may have made a difference.
"I can't speak for voters, but my website makes the point that if you're hiring someone for a job you want to hire someone who has a lot of experience in that field," he said. "So maybe that helped me."
David Ward, who is chair of the city's Utility Advisory Commission, said he didn't know what to expect from the voters.
"I've never done this before and I really don't know what drives Bainbridge voters," he said. "But I think I had a compelling message and I knocked on a lot of doors in the district, talked to a lot of people."
Ward said the city's decision on whether to sell, transfer or continue operating the water utility is likely the No. 1 issue in the downtown area.
Levan agreed, saying, "My main focus is the issue of local control, keeping control of law enforcement, the utilities and other city functions on the island. I know there are some big differences between us, because I know he (Ward) wants KPUD (Kitsap Public Utility District) to take over the utility."
Ward said most of the people he talked to during the campaign are upset about being overcharged for the water and sewer utilities and want some resolutions.
"I believe all three utilities are problematic because the people living in the Central Ward are the ones paying most of the fees for water and sewer, and also a lot for storm-water runoff," he said.
Ward reiterated that he had no idea what to expect going forward, "but he (Levan) is taking a different approach, which is probably good because there will a strong boundary drawn between the candidates."
Results as of 8 p.m. on Tuesday are below.
City of Bainbridge Island City Council race
Barry Peters 1,775 votes – 38.37 percent
Steven Bonkowski 1,496 votes – 32.34 percent
Kimberly Hendrickson 1,253 votes – 27.09 percent
Central Ward position
David Ward 570 votes – 39.20 percent
Joe Levan 439 votes – 30.19 percent
John Green 218 votes – 14.99 percent
Chris Van Dyk 211 votes – 14.51 percent