It was a good day for Dems

State Rep. Christine Rolfes (D-Bainbridge Island) celebrates election results with her husband, Leonard, (right) and Patty Graf-Hoke as they watched the election results Nov. 4 at the Silverdale Beach Hotel.  - Jesse Beals/Staff photo
State Rep. Christine Rolfes (D-Bainbridge Island) celebrates election results with her husband, Leonard, (right) and Patty Graf-Hoke as they watched the election results Nov. 4 at the Silverdale Beach Hotel.
— image credit: Jesse Beals/Staff photo

Democratic incumbents easily win races.

BAINBRIDGE ISLAND — Election Day was a good day to be a Democratic in north Kitsap County.

All three incumbent Democrats representing the 23rd Legislative District – Rep. Sherry Appleton of Poulsbo, Sen. Phil Rockefeller of Bainbridge and Rep. Christine Rolfes of Bainbridge – were reelected to their seats in Olympia.

Each incumbent had earned more than 61 percent of votes, with 22,500 Kitsap County ballots left to be counted Friday.

Appleton defeated Larry Cooney, a political newcomer from Poulsbo who added color to the campaign with bright orange T-shirts and signs that read “Aren’t you sick of it?” Rockefeller outpaced Connie Lord, a Poulsbo City Council member while Rolfes sailed past Mark Lowe, a retired Navy officer from Bremerton.

The races were marked with disparate fundraising gaps.

Rockefeller set the pace for the Democrats, raising $179,965.71. Lord raised $24,625.04, highest among Republicans. The results didn’t surprise the incumbents.

“I’ve been very confident but I take nothing for granted,” Rockefeller said at a Democratic event in Silverdale, Nov. 4. “I worked hard to get here and I’m going to do the same to stay.”

Lord, who ran the most aggressive campaign among the republican candidates, said she wasn’t disillusioned by the result Tuesday.

“I’m proud of all the people who worked on my campaign,” she said. “It’s been worthwhile, we’ve really put the spotlight on Olympia.”

Some local candidates credited the success of the Democratic party on a national level for giving local campaigns a boost. Appleton was doubtful many voters drawn out by national races voted far enough down the ballot to find her name.

“Regardless, I think all three of us would have been returned to office, because we listen and respond, and that’s really what it is all about,” Appleton said.

The trio will spend much of the next legislative session responding to the weakening economy. State budget cuts will be deep in the upcoming year, and the legislators will have to be vigilant to protect vital social services, Appleton said.

Rockefeller could be in the thick of the budgeting process from his position on the joint legislative auditing committee.

Rolfes said she wants to make sure public schools funding isn’t included in the budget trimming, adding the Legislature needs to focus on stimulating the state’s economy while reining in spending.

Ferries will also see attention.

The Legislature will be reviewing recommendations from Washington State Ferries for operating more efficiency. The Legislature will be forging ahead with new boat construction as well.

Rolfes said Gregoire’s reelection will help keep ferry work on track.

“With the governor reelected, at least we won’t loose months, we’ll be able to keep moving forward,” Rolfes said.

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