Linda Simpson, Republican candidate for Kitsap County Commissioner, District 2, was not available for comment last night after election results came in. The initial tally showed her trailing Democrat Charlotte Garrido by 3,753 votes. The percentage margin was 52 to 47.
Simpson called today to say she was disappointed and somewhat stunned by the results.
“I was kind of hoping it would be the other way around,” she said. “It’s not insurmountable, so there’s a little bit of hope.”
But an update posted by the Kitsap County Auditor at 5 p.m showed the margin between the two had barely budged. Garrido is now leading Simpson by 3,969 votes, with 77,245 votes counted in this race. Kitsap has 39,000 ballots in hand yet to be counted, according to the Washington State Auditor, and all are eligible to vote in the commissioner’s race.
Simpson decided to pursue the commissioner’s seat after seeing considerable success in the 2010 race for 35th District representative, position 2. In that race, she ended up losing to Democrat Fred Finn by a mere 52 votes in Kitsap County. The totals in the four counties that made up the 35th at the time (Kitsap, Grays Harbor, Mason and Thurston) gave 29,543 votes to Finn and 25,724 votes to Simpson, a difference of 3,819 votes.
Simpson today said she went into the homestretch of her campaign for county commissioner feeling optimistic. Not only was she getting support from her own party, but non-Republicans had voiced their intent to cast their ballots for her.
Simpson believes the message that resonated with voters of all political persuasions was her commitment to represent individual rights and give a transparent accounting of how taxpayers’ dollars are spent. On election night, Simpson was almost sure she would win.
“I really felt good about (the campaign),” she said. “I really felt quite surprised and dismayed that the results were the opposite.”
Simpson will wait for the final count to come in before throwing in the towel. But she’s looking ahead to the possibility of a loss. Glass-more-than-half-full type that she is, Simpson, a Navy reservist on leave, said she would take advantage of the down time if she loses the race.
Since running against Finn, Simpson has lost her leg in a motorcycle accident, won four medals in the Warrior Games for injured military members and jumped into the commissioner’s race last summer, less than a year after her injury. Simpson is training for the upcoming Warrior Games in Hawaii. She hopes some day to start a foundation to give financial assistance to military amputees who, unlike herself, lack funds to cope with their disabilities. And to be honest, she could use a little “me” time to relax and regroup, she said.
Simpson does not rule out a future run for public office. “I wouldn’t say never, but I wouldn’t say it’s a high priority on my list right now,” she said.