Charged with DUI and elected mayor by one vote

That could have happened here, I know, but it didn’t. This was Fife. And the one-vote difference isn’t that big a deal, because the Fife mayor is picked by the city council. Rob Cerqui won the seat with a 4-3 vote of the council, according to the (Tacoma) News Tribune.

The weekend after the Nov. 8 election I was a guest on the Outlaw Radio Network webcast, which is generated locally.

The hosts asked me about the Port Orchard mayoral election and asked if I thought Lary Coppola was running behind because of his DUI arrest. In a race decided by five votes there is a long list of items that contributed to the loss. Do I think three people voted for Tim Matthes instead of Coppola because of the DUI? Probably. (I use “three,” because if three people had switched their votes Coppola would have won re-election.) Was it the biggest factor? I don’t think so, I said. I think the biggest issue was some people, and I said this in the kindest way possible, don’t like Coppola personally. I’m sure the ads played a factor, too.

But still, I think it was mostly a personality thing. Our editorial board, in endorsing Coppola, wrote about him, “Along the way, Coppola has stepped on a few toes — and on occasion his direct manner has rankled some people.” From this (as in me) outsider’s perspective, Matthes’ slogan for the campaign could have been “I’m not Lary.”

I would have brought this up before, but Chris Henry covered it beautifully in her story “A (too?) strong voice for Port Orchard?

Today’s headline from Fife reminded me to weigh in, not that you asked. Cerqui’s DUI came on Nov. 20, less than two weeks after he was re-elected to the council. His opponent in the race for mayor said the DUI was a personal issue and that Cerqui would do a good job as mayor.

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