BREMERTON — It was a contest that featured two candidates with differing views about how to generate economic growth in Bremerton.
And on Election Day, City Council member Greg Wheeler took an early lead in his bid to replace Patty Lent in the mayor’s office.
Wheeler leads Lent 53.6 percent to 46.2 percent, or 2,407 votes to 2,073 votes, respectively.
“We knew at the very beginning that if we were going to win this race, we would have to run a very different campaign,” Wheeler said. “We were running against a lot of the political establishment, and we knew it would be an uphill fight.
“Our victory means that the people who live in Bremerton want a change from the status quo.”
Lent was not available for comment after early results were posted by the county’s Elections Division.
During the campaign, Wheeler forcefully advocated for a faster business-and-occupation tax phase-out as an incentive to entice new businesses to Bremerton.
The apparent winner said the message of creating a vibrant local economy with affordable housing resonated with voters.
“We are going to create a city government that values innovation and efficiency,” Wheeler said, “and a fiscally responsible and transparent government of the people.”
Lent was circumspect about eliminating the B&O tax. She argued that doing so would jeopardize city revenue prospects.