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Raplee to seek Kent City Council seat as write-in candidate against Sharp, Stober
Debbie Raplee is running as a write-in candidate for the Kent City Council to give voters a "reasonable alternative" over Ken Sharp and Bailey Stober.
Raplee served eight years on the council before losing in the 2011 general election to Bill Boyce.
"I'm the only reasonable alternative for that position," Raplee said during a Monday phone interview. "There are legal issues with one (Sharp) and eligibility issues for the office with the other (Stober). I have the experience and knowledge and am familiar with city government."
Raplee said she decided last week to run as a write-in candidate. She will file Tuesday with King County Elections, a few days ahead of the Friday deadline for write-in candidates. Raplee won't be in the Voters' Pamphlet or have her name on the ballot. But voters have the option to write in a name rather than fill out the oval next to a name.
King County Elections mails out ballots Wednesday. Voters must postmark their ballots by election day Nov. 5 to have their ballot counted.
Raplee, a Boeing staff analyst for nearly 35 years, said people asked her to run because they didn't like the options of Sharp and Stober with so many questions about each candidate.
Sharp faces first-degree theft charges filed by King County prosecutors against him for allegedly stealing $297,500 from his 93-year-old mother's bank account. Sharp pleaded not guilty to the charges on Aug. 29 in King County Superior Court. He is scheduled to return to court Nov. 20.
Rumors about whether Stober lived in Kent for a year prior to filing for office also helped Raplee decide to enter the race. She said she understands that Stober lived in Renton at some point during the past year. State law requires city council candidates to live in a city for a full year before they can run for a city office.
"People need someone dependable and that they can trust," Raplee said.
Stober has denied any residency violations.
"I've been a resident of Kent for years," Stober said during an earlier interview. "Haven't gone anywhere and don't plan on it soon."
Stober didn't expect Raplee to enter the race.
“I am surprised to hear that Debbie Raplee is interested in running for the Kent City Council," Stober said in a Monday email. "When I spoke with her earlier this year she said she had no interest in local politics or returning to the Council. Since she lost her last election she hasn’t participated in any community organizations or activities that I am aware of."
Boyce, a former Kent School Board member, received 60.4 percent of the vote two years ago against Raplee.
"Over 60 percent of Kent’s population voted for her opponent in the last election and I respect their choice and am willing to bet given the chance they will make the same decision," Stober said. "I welcome Debbie to the race and wish her the best of luck.”
Raplee said she has campaign supporters who will help her put up signs and send out mailers to spread the word that she's running for the council.
"I have name familiarity," she said. "But I don't have the exposure of the other two. There is not a lot of time for door belling."
Despite the late entry to the race, Raplee likes her odds of winning.
"I think my chances are pretty good," she said.
Raplee said she would see if she could get on the agenda for the final scheduled candidate forum in Kent. The Kent Black Action Commission hosts a debate for mayoral, City Council and school board candidates from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18 in the Kent Commons' Green River Room, 525 Fourth Ave N.
Sharp received 41 percent of the vote to win the August primary election. Stober had 29.6 percent to edge out Barbara Phillips (28.7 percent) for second. Only the top two vote getters in the primary advance to the general election.
Sharp has not yet responded to inquiries for his reaction to Raplee entering the race.