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"Sheldon, Rockefeller apparent winners in 23rd"
"Two of the three legislative incumbents from the 23rd legislative district were enjoying comfortable leads in early absentee ballot returns on Tuesday night. The third had a slimmer margin to hold onto.Betti Sheldon, State Senator from the 23rd District and Phil Rockefeller, State Representative from the 23rd District were celebrating leads of more than 10 percent against their opposition in early returns.Beverly Woods, the Poulsbo Republican who was appointed to Karen Schmidt's legislative seat, was leading Bainbridge Island Democrat David Harrison by three percent in early returns.Sheldon, who joined campaign supporters at the Sandpiper Restaurant in Silverdale, expressed her gratitude and relief over the positive trend of the early numbers.I'm just feeling terrific and so very grateful that this campaign is over. I'm also very proud to have another opportunity to serve Kitsap in Olympia.Sheldon, who has already served eight years in the State Senate, has been an advocate for Kitsap's passenger ferries and worked hard to achieve the expansion of Olympic College, including help to secure the funding of the Poulsbo branch campus.Her opponent, Bainbridge Island Republican Dan Murphy, campaigned aggressively, questioning Sheldon's effectiveness in campaign forums. He campaigned on fully funding ferries, capping property taxes and returning more tax dollars to classrooms.Transportation and budget issues were already on Phil Rockefeller's mind as he viewed early returns that showed him with a comfortable lead over Phil Rasmussen, Poulsbo Republican.I enjoy this job, Rockefeller, a Bainbridge Island Democrat said, I hope we can keep moving forward in the next term. I hope I can continue to earn people's confidence and respect.The impact of ballot initiatives on the state's budget-particularly ferry transportation concerns Rockefeller. There's not a lot of discretionary funding to work with already. It's going to be especially difficult to balance a budget. The closest race in early returns was the Woods and Harrison campaign for the House seat.Woods, positive and upbeat throughout the campaign, maintained that approach to her lead.We're feeling great, she said. We ran a good, positive campaign and we felt that getting the message out was very important. But, I believe we'll be back down in Olympia working hard.A member of the House Transportation Committee, Woods was heavily involved in work to restore ferry funding in the wake of I-695 in her first term in Olympia during the campaign.Behind in early returns by about three percent, Harrison was more pragmatic. We'll just have to wait and see, but we ran a good campaign. Even though we're trailing, we still hope we can close the gap.Harrison, founder and former director of the Northwest Policy Institite focused his campaign on educational issues and protection of the quality of life. "