"Haigh, Eickmeyere earn return trips to Olympia"
June 11, 2008 · Updated 3:05 PM
"While the presidential election seesawed with nail-biting ferocity across the nation, voters in the 35th District concerned about roads, ferries, taxes and schools, reelected the Position 1 and 2 incumbents by large margins.First term incumbent Kathy Haigh, D-Shelton, won reelection for a second term handily with an unofficial tally of 16,134 or 59 percent of the vote, to 9,822 (37 percent) for challenger Frank Dare, the state social worker who was fired from his job when he decided to run for office.It's so exciting ... I really enjoyed working the first two years. It really says people approve of what I'm doing, and I'm going to continue on in my efforts, Haigh said.Education will be a major focus for her second term in the Legislature, she said.It doesn't look like people are (going for) the charter school initiative (I-729). People are saying no, stay on track, keep working with the public schools, Haigh said.During her campaign she expressed the belief that basic education funding formulas need to be reworked.I believe the state needs to make a much greater investment. Using local property taxes really puts a huge (burden) on property owners, she said. In rural areas it's even bigger because they don't have the incomes. They don't have a Boeing or Microsoft. Local property taxes fund (schools) on average 15-16 percent. I believe it should be no more than 10 percent.Dare was on his way back to Olympia from a family emergency in Oregon and was unavailable for comment.Incumbent William Ike Eickmeyer, D-Belfair, was also leading Republican challenger Edward Mitchell for the Position 2 slot. Unofficial results gave Eickmeyer 15,403 votes (58 percent) to 9,965 (38 percent) for Mitchell.It's running about the same as it did in the primary, 58 percent, Eickmeyer said.We ran a low budget campaign this time, and we thought it would hold. When we were doorbelling (in the district) people seemed pleased that we supported them in the issues that were important to them, he added.Mitchell wasn't ready to call it quits however.It's a long shot, we only have the first of the numbers, they haven't been updated yet, he noted. But I'm not ready to concede yet.Eickmeyer was running for his second elected term. He was appointed to finish Sen. Tim Shelton's term when Shelton won election to the Senate three years ago.Eickmeyer believes that the ferries should be fully funded.The ferries are part of the road system and need to be funded fully. The difficulty is defining what funding is, he said earlier.This may be the year Eickmeyer takes action on the belief that the state should do away with property taxes and levies to pay for schools and totally fund education because of current funding equities.Kitsap County Auditor Karen Flynn said more than 82,000 absentee ballots were sent out for this election.We already have more than 59,000 returned, and that's just today, said Flynn. We're expecting a 90 percent return of absentee ballots, or about 73,000 to 74,000.Flynn said she expects to have about 37,000 of those absentee votes counted Tuesday night, with counting to continue Thursday, and again next Wednesday. We did go to every polling place in the county and pick up votes from this morning. It's a good indicator of the results, Flynn said.Voting has been brisk at the polls as well, Flynn noted.The polling place turn out has been good. We expect more than 80 percent of the voters will turn out, she said. It's exciting, it's an exciting night. "