Bremerton city council candidate says he's 'dropping out' of race

The Bremerton residency of city council candidate Keith Ranburger, who has filed to run for a District 5 seat, has been challenged and the candidate says he plans to drop out of the race.

Bremerton resident Daryl Daugs, whose wife, Leslie, is running unopposed for re-election to the city council, filed the challenge June 6 at the Kitsap County Auditor's Office. Mr. Daugs is one of two principals at BiggDaug, LLC, a political consulting and campaign management services firm run by himself and Mark Biggs.

Ranburger said this week that he is aware of the challenge.

"I'm dropping out of (the race)," he said. "I gotta get my act together and take care of it."

Kitsap County Auditor Walt Washington said a hearing on the residency challenge was held in which Daugs showed up, but Ranburger did not. Washington did not oversee the hearing after recusing himself following a request by the local Republican Party. Instead, Washington's deputy oversaw the hearing and has submitted her findings to the Kitsap County Prosecutor's Office for a final review before issuing her determination.

Washington said he hopes that the decision will become public sometime this week.

Ranburger said this week that he used the Callow Avenue address of his new electric cigarette business, Pacific Vape, in registering because that is where he picks up all of his mail. He said that he thought running for council was something he could do while simultaneously getting a new business off the ground, but "was grossly wrong" in estimating that it would take "six months to a year for the business to take off."

Ranburger said he does maintain a home, "four or five nights a week" within in the District 5 boundaries, but declined to provide an address. He said a Port Orchard residence associated with his city business license belongs to a relative, but he does not live there.

Washington said that regardless of what determination is made regarding Ranburger's residency, ballots will go out to District 5 voters with his name and the names of the other candidates, Dino Davis and Deirdre McKeel, on them.

"Once a candidate has filed and it's gone past the withdraw date, which is the Friday after filing week, they can't withdraw," Washington said. "Ballots have already been printed because, by statute, military and overseas ballots have to go out early."

In the event that Ranburger earns more votes than his opponents, Washington said a new challenge to his election could be filed.

In a statement attached to the voter registration challenge, Daugs wrote, "Mr. Ranburger has listed his residency for voter registration and as a declared candidate for office as: 320 N Callow, Bremerton, WA 98310. He filed for office and registered to vote on the same day, May 17, 2013. 320 N Callow Bremerton, WA is not a residence. It is a small retail store front."

Daugs notes in his challenge that, "The Kitsap County Assessor's office records show 320 N Callow Bremerton WA as 380 square footage of General Retail."

Daugs said he has personally gone to the address on many different occasions and at varying times of day during the week and on weekends.

"I have not been able to find anyone at this address," Daugs wrote. "As I have stopped in front of the retail space, on the public sidewalk I can.see through the store front window. This is very obviously a retail location. There is a motorcycle on display and no residential furnishings."

Daugs also noted that Ranburger "listed a Port Orchard address as his place of residence on his City of Bremerton business license application."

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