Primary election sets historic milestone

POULSBO — Even though the primary election results have yet to be certified, Councilwoman Kathryn Quade appears to have reached some historic milestones as she seeks to become Little Norway’s 18th mayor.

Voter turnout in the election was at 53 percent as of Sept. 24 with 2,349 out of 4,452 eligible voters casting ballots in the primary.

Quade is the first candidate in the city’s history to garner more than 1,000 votes in the primary, earning 1,074 votes as of Sept. 24. That is a mere 101 votes shy of the overall election record of 1,175 set by current mayor Donna Jean Bruce in the 2001 general election.

Her current margin of victory of 436 votes in the primary also bests another record held by Bruce, who defeated Councilman Mike Regis by 422 votes in the 2001 primary.

A Quade victory in November would mark the first time since 1981 that a new mayor has won a general election before being sworn in before a first term.

In 1981, Councilwoman June Atak beat incumbent Clyde Caldart by a 19 percent margin to become the first woman elected mayor of Little Norway. Atak lost a vote of confidence in June 1985 as Councilman Curt Rudolph (father of current Councilman Dale Rudolph) took the reins.

However, Rudolph chose not to seek reelection as then-Councilman Mitch Mitchusson ran unopposed for his first term in office.

Mitchusson overwhelmed Councilman Mike Winters in his first bid for reelection in 1989 and outclassed a four-candidate field in the 1993 primary, garnering 56 percent of the vote to former mayor June Atak’s 18 percent. Mitchusson then defeated Atak in November, winning by a whopping 478 votes.

In 1997, Mitchusson again outdistanced a crowded five-candidate primary election before defeating Councilwoman Jackie Wahlgren (Aitchison) by 290 votes to secure his fourth term in office.

However, Mitchusson resigned in 1998, handing the job to then-deputy mayor Donna Jean Bruce. Bruce won the special election in 1999 as she went unopposed.

Bruce would win her first full mayor’s election in 2001 after defeating Regis and Sherry Appleton in the primary by 422 votes.

Final results from the primary election will be certified on Friday, setting the stage for the Nov. 8 general election, which will feature two council races in addition to the conclusion of the mayor’s race.

Councilman Ed Stern is being opposed by political newcomer Stan Kennedy in his pursuit of a third term, and fellow Councilman Rudolph is opposed by longtime community advocate Herb Kai as he seeks his fourth term on the council.

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