Aggressive campaign pays off for Freeland candidates | UPDATE

The tag-team strategy worked.

Big time.

Lou Malzone and Marilynn Abrahamson were winning in a landslide against Nolen "Rocky" Knickerbocker and Jim Short, the incumbent commissioners of the Freeland Water and Sewer District, in Tuesday's General Election.

Malzone had amassed 79 percent of the vote to Knickerbocker's 23 percent, while Abrahamson was beating Short 76 percent to 23 percent.

Malzone and Abrahamson ran with a combined effort that had all the trappings of a major league campaign; volunteer committees, newsletters, a massive doorbelling effort and plenty of eye-catching yard signs (many emblazoned with a picture of a toilet to draw attention to their opposition to a controversial $40 million sewer project for Freeland).

"I think it shows that people in Freeland got involved and were motivated to vote this year," Malzone said.

"I think the margin of victory is basically reflective of the campaign that Marilynn and I did. We really were out in neighborhoods talking to people, and I think people responded to us," he said.

"It's overwhelming," Abrahamson said of the pair's strong showing.

"This sends a strong message that the voters of Freeland do not want the sewer," she said. "We will be working very closely with the residents of Freeland to determine what they want for the future of Freeland."

Knickerbocker and Short could not be reached for comment late Tuesday.

The board for the Freeland district has three members. With their victories Nov. 8, Malzone and Abrahamson will take control of the oversight and future direction of the district.

"I think Marilynn and I are both looking forward to working with [commissioner] Eric Hansen," Malzone said.

"I think that we've got our work cut out for us," he added. "We've got to work with the business community and the residential community and move Freeland forward in an economically viable way."



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