Candidates file for Clark County political offices

2020 election will include some rematches, new faces and one candidate who changed his party affiliation

The May 11-15 candidate filing period ended Friday, leaving Clark County voters with some new names to consider, some old battles to once again decide between and one prominent elected official dropping a letter behind his name.

The primary election will take place Aug. 4 and the general election will be held on Nov. 3. 

Among the positions on this year’s ballot are 15 spots on the Clark County Home Rule Charter Review Commission. The Home Rule Charter, adopted by voters in 2014, contains a provision that, five years after its adoption, it is to be reviewed by a charter review commission consisting of 15 persons elected on a nonpartisan basis. 

Those 15 people will be divided up into three from each of the four county districts, as well as three at-large seats. A total of 56 candidates have filed for those 15 positions, including some prominent names from the Clark County political scene.

Here’s a look at some of the key local races voters will determine the outcome of. For the complete list of candidate filings, go to Clark County Today will continue to introduce area residents to these candidates prior to the elections.

County councilor

Two seats on the Clark County Council are on the 2020 ballot. In District 4, Republican Gary Medvigy will face Matt Little, who filed as an independent. Medvigy was appointed to the council on Jan. 23, 2019 to fill the vacant seat. He is a retired U.S. Army Major General and Superior Court judge who moved to Camas in 2016. Little is a resident of Fern Prairie who describes himself as “fiscally conservative.’’ He currently works at Social Venture Partners “to help make sure all kids get quality early childhood learning experiences.’’

John Blom
John Blom

In District 3, current councilor John Blom filed as a candidate. Blom, who was previously elected as a Republican, drew attention with his filing as an independent.

“I have learned much about the work of the county over the last four years, and one thing I have observed is that the vast majority of the decisions made by the council are not partisan by nature,’’ Blom explained on his Facebook page. “The largest portion of the county’s general fund goes toward public safety, both the sheriff’s office and the courts. When people need help and call the sheriff, they don’t care if it was a Democrat or Republican that approved the budget — they just want to know that help will arrive in a timely fashion.

“I know many people are comforted in voting for a candidate that shares their party affiliation,’’ Blom added. “It is my belief, however, that many of the policy items that divide the two parties simply are not highly relevant to the County Council, just as they are not highly relevant to the City Council. Health care policy, taxation, international relations strategy, and immigration policy are not local issues.’’

Karen Bowerman
Karen Bowerman

Blom will be opposed by Republican Karen Bowerman and Democrat Jesse James. Bowerman is the wife of Clark County Republican Party Chairman Earl Bowerman. She is also 1st vice president of the Clark County Republican Women. 

Bowerman said she decided to file as a candidate after Blom announced his change to no party preference, “because it is my belief that voters deserve the opportunity to consider a Republican candidate too. I filed immediately. With my candidacy, voters have the opportunity to consider a Republican. I look forward to discussing how this differs from the incumbent with no party preference, and how it is of value to the 3rd district and to our county. Because I am principled, my identity as a conservative Republican translates to policy and positions on taxes, roads, transportation, budget, public safety and more.’’

U.S. Representative

Congressional District 3

Jaime Herrera Beutler
Jaime Herrera Beutler

Four candidates have filed to challenge Republican Jaime Herrera Beutler’s position in the U.S. Congress. Herrera Beutler is a Battle Ground resident who served as a state representative from Washington’s 18th District from 2007 until being elected to Congress in 2010.

Carolyn Long
Carolyn Long

Herrera Beutler will once again be opposed by Democrat Carolyn Long. In the November 2018 general election, Herrera Beutler defeated Long in a hotly contested race. The rematch promises to include plenty of fireworks and both candidates have been establishing a war chest of campaign contributions with which to go to battle with.

Herrera Beutler and Long will be joined in the race by Martin Hash, who states no party preference, and Democrats Davy Ray and Devin Gray. Hash was defeated in the 2018 primary election for the same position.

State Senate

The incumbents in the 17th, 18th and 49th legislative districts will each be challenged to return to Olympia. 

In the 17th District, Republican Lynda Wilson will face Democrat Daniel Smith. Wilson was elected to her current position in 2016 after a two-year term in the state House of Representatives. She is an owner in DeWils Industries, a third-generation business located in Clark County.

Smith, who has had a 20-year career in social work, currently serves as Southwest Washington manager for the Community Health Plan of Washington, a nonprofit that provides healthcare for Apple Health members.

Sen. Ann Rivers
Sen. Ann Rivers

In the 18th District, incumbent Republican Ann Rivers has two challengers, Republican John Ley and Democrat Rick Bell. Rivers became a state senator in 2012 after serving in the House of Representatives since 2010. Rivers is a resident of La Center, where according to her website, she continues to operate a governmental and public affairs consulting firm.

John Ley
John Ley

Ley is a resident of Camas and a commercial airline pilot. He is well-known for his tenacious research on issues of local government spending. In his filing announcement, Ley stated, “The people of the 18th Legislative District deserve a conservative option for their state senator.’’ He added, “I promise to ask ‘where’s the value’ in every government program, and about every dollar you send to Olympia. The people pay the bill, they expect efficient use of their money.’’

In the 49th District, incumbent Annette Cleveland (Democrat) will be challenged by Republican Rey Reynolds. Cleveland was born and raised in the 49th Legislative District and she describes herself as “a life-long Democrat.’’ She has served the 49th District in the state senate since 2013.

Reynolds is a 21-year veteran of the Vancouver Police Department. “Although I love the great outdoors and have a passion for our environment, I felt I needed to do something more to help others. At that time, I decided to become an officer,” said Reynolds in a press release. “Now, I find myself once again in a situation where I must do more, and my life experience bids me to serve the community in the state legislature where I can effect positive change in the daily lives of SW Washingtonians.”

State House of Representatives

Rep. Vicki Kraft
Rep. Vicki Kraft

There will be a rematch in the race for state representative, Position 1, in the 17th Legislative District. Incumbent Vicki Kraft, a Republican, defeated Democrat Tanisha Harris. In November 2018, Kraft defeated Harris by just 859 votes.

“I am very thankful and honored to serve the people in my District, and for the opportunity to continue representing them,” said Kraft in a news release announcing her filing. Kraft’s announcement also included the statement that “Kraft has demonstrated her leadership ability to vote independently, to listen to the people by hosting numerous town halls, participating in community forums, and to make the people’s voice heard in Olympia. Her efforts to increase integrity, accountability, fiscal responsibility and meaningful tax relief for the citizens are proven in the legislation she has sponsored and supported.’’

Tanisha Harris
Tanisha Harris

On her campaign website, Harris said, “I am running because I believe the working and middle-class families of the 17th Legislative District deserve a voice and a champion in Olympia. With everything going on nationally, it’s time to put aside extreme ideologies and talking points and focus on what matters most to us — good, safe schools for our kids, roads and infrastructure that gets us where we need to go, and an economy that works for all families.’’

For Position 2 in the 17th District, incumbent Paul Harris (Republican) will be challenged by fellow Republican Bryan White. Harris has served in the Washington State Legislature since 2010.

In the 18th District, Republican incumbents Brandon Vick (Position 1) and Larry Hoff (Position 2) will each be challenged by Democrats. Vick will be opposed by Kassandra Bessert and Hoff will face off against Donna Sinclair.

In the 49th District (Position 1), incumbent Sharon Wylie (Democrat) will face two challengers — Independent Kelli Danielle Fiskum and Republican Justin Forsman. 

In the Position 2 race in the 49th District, incumbent Monica Stonier (Democrat) will be opposed by Republican Park Llafet and Independent Troy Potter.


About The Author

Ken Vance got his start in the newspaper industry in 1987 as a reporter at The Columbian Newspaper in Vancouver. Vance graduated from Stevenson High School in Stevenson, WA, and attended Clark College in Vancouver. He worked for The Columbian from 1987-2001. He was most recently a staff member of The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground, where he served as editor since 2010 and reporter since 2007. Vance’s work in the newspaper industry has won him multiple awards, including a first place award from the Society of Professional Journalists for in-depth reporting.

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