Absentees could decide Jackley-McMahan race

"Fluctuating numbers left District 26 candidates hopeful last night as they vied for the narrow lead necessary to take positions 1 and 2.Preliminary election results in Kitsap County indicated political newcomer Brock Jackley, D-Manchester, could clinch a close race for Position 2, ultimately sweeping the election against Republican candidate Lois McMahan - a former representative - with 52.1 percent to her 47.6 percent.But McMahan held the upper hand at press time in Pierce County, holding less than a 1 percent lead over Jackley with 50.08 percent of the vote. By 11 p.m., Jackley held 49.7 percent of Pierce County.In the Position 1 race, preliminary election results showed incumbent Pat Lantz, D-Gig Harbor, beating out challenger Randy Boss, R-Gig Harbor, by a margin of nearly 15 percentage points in Kitsap County. Her margin was lower in Pierce County, with 53.1 percent against his 44.7 percent.But in such a close race, the results will not be decided on election night.The Kitsap County Auditor's Office counted voter's box numbers until midnight last night, but there were 82,380 absentee ballots left to process today.Though he trailed slightly behind Lantz in the initial polls, Boss kept a positive outlook.In the primary election, we came up strong in the end after absentee ballots were counted, he said.While he conceded the early-released results didn't look terrific, he said he expected his percentage to rise as final numbers continued to trickle in.Lantz did not return phone calls by press time last night.The two Position 2 candidates hovered near the 50 percent mark most of election night, with Jackley garnering Kitsap County's side of the District 26 vote and McMahan holding less than a 1 percent lead in Pierce County.By press time, Pierce County election numbers had not been updated on the county's Web site, leaving McMahan optimistic.I think we're going to win. We think we're going to come up, she said from an election night party in Gig Harbor.McMahan's campaign priorities have focused on improving economic viability in District 26 by finding transportation solutions and streamlining the permitting process. She had also stated a goal to reduce property taxes and government spending. Jackley, who campaigned on a promise to reform the levy system, fund education and find transportation solutions for Kitsap families to get to jobs, recreation and shopping, also attended a party in Gig Harbor as the county auditor's office up-dated the numbers about every half-hour.He, too, promised to work to reduce property taxes by funding education, thereby relieving property owners of school levies.Jackley thanked his supporters for believing in him. I'm excited. I think my supporters worked hard. I worked hard. I was hoping I would do well, he said. My supporters deserve a lot of credit.Jackley's claim to be a mainstream individual, likely contributed to his success in the polls as a first-timer in the political arena. During his campaign, Jackley maintained he would reach across the aisle and work with Republicans to find solutions to Kitsap County issues. "

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