Area general election races all but sewn up

The Nov. 8 General Election won’t be certified until Nov. 29 but it appears most races affecting Clark County have been decided.

As of Mon., Nov. 14 at 4:30 p.m., 204,639 votes had been counted, representing a 75.01 percent turnout of Clark County’s 272,832 registered voters.

Republicans John Blom and Eileen Quiring are set to join the Clark County Board of Councilors. In the race to replace David Madore in District 3, Blom increased his lead in the most recent count to 1,032 votes. Blom had 21,507 (51.04 percent) of the  votes  to the 20,475 votes (48.59 percent) garnered by Tanisha Harris, who prefers the Democratic Party. On election night, Blom’s lead over Harris was just 194 votes in the initial results released by Clark County Elections.

Clark County Elections
John Blom appears to have defeated Tanisha Harris in the race for Clark County Council Position No. 3. Photo courtesy of John Blom for Clark County Facebook page

“We expected it to be a really close race because of the demographics of that district,’’ Blom told ClarkCountyToday.com Monday. “I think we had a message that really connected with voters,  both the experience I bring to the position — priorities of public safety and mental health — those are the issues I see when looking at the county and those are the things that we on the voters’ minds as well.’’

Blom said he anticipates a smooth transition to the Clark County Council.

“I’ve had the opportunity to have conversations with all of them through my various capacities, including the Planning Commission,’’ Blom said. “I’m confident we will have a good working relationship with all three of the current councilors.’’

In the race for District 4 on the Clark County Board of Councilors, held previously by Tom Mielke, Republican Eileen Quiring maintained her comfortable lead over Democrat Roman Battan throughout the week. In Friday’s results, Quiring had 32,417 votes (62.42 percent) and Battan had 19,439 votes (37.43 percent).

In the senate races in the state legislative districts, none of the three contested races were very close at any point since the first results were announced on election night. The closest of the three races was in the 17th District where Republican Lynda Wilson had 31,924 votes (54.99 percent), ahead of Tim Probst, who prefers the Independent Democratic Party, with 25,943 votes (44.69 percent).

In the senate race in the 18th District, Republican Ann Rivers led Democrat Eric Holt by a sizable margin. Rivers had 44,047 votes (63.71 percent) and Holt received 24,972 votes (36.12 percent).

Democrat Annette Cleveland received 62.05 percent (33,697 votes) of the votes in the race for the senate seat in the 49th District. Republican Lewis Gerhardt had 37.69 percent (20,485 votes).

In the legislative races for state representative, the gap in the race for Position 1 in the 17th District was widening. Republican Vicki Kraft (29,729 votes, 51.50 percent) was steadily increasing her lead over Democrat Sam Kim (27,837 votes, 48.22 percent). In the race for Position 2 in the 17th District, Republican Paul Harris (36,908 votes, 62.93 percent) maintained a commanding lead over Democrat Martin Hash (20,967 votes, 36.67 percent).

“I was the first candidate to enter this race on Feb. 3,’’ Kraft said. “I’ve been out meeting with citizens in the 17th doorknocking since late March so I’ve been very involved in the community.’’

Election Results
Vicki Kraft has pulled away from Sam Kim in the race for state representative in the 17th District. Photo by Joanna Yorke

Kraft said she gained a lot of experience working with other candidates in the past and that paid off for her in this campaign.

“I think having worked in the past with some local electeds on their campaigns gave me a real insight into what would be required to win this race,’’ Kraft said. “I was willing to do the hard work and we had a great people involved with the campaign and great support.’’

Kraft will head to Olympia with the goal of fiscal responsibility on her mind. She plans to support legislation introduced by Rep. Drew Stokesbary, of Auburn, that would move Washington away from baseline budgeting to zero-based budgeting.

“One of my top priorities, and I said this throughout the campaign, is to improve accountability and fiscal responsibility for us taxpayers in Olympia,’’ Kraft said. “One of the biggest things I think we can work to improve is to change the ‘use it or lose it’ culture. I’ve experienced the frenzy of buying that happens  the last month or two months before the end of the fiscal year. Some of it is necessary but some of it isn’t.

“I know firsthand of one technology purchase for more than $1 million that was made and two years later the equipment was still sitting untouched,’’ Kraft said. “We need to change that mentality that agencies have to spend everything in their budget in order to justify getting more.’’

Kraft also said that education will be a top priority this year so she was “looking to get on the K-12 Education Committee.’’

In the race for state representative in the 18th District Position 2, Republican Liz Pike led Democrat Kathy Gillespie by a sizable margin. Pike had 39,233 votes (56.71 percent) and Gillespie received 29,792 (43.07 percent).

Pike will be heading to Olympia for her third term. She indicated that the nearly 57 percent of the vote she received was a little lower than she had received in the past, but she said that was the result of a calculated decision on her part to support fellow conservative Eileen Quiring in her race for Clark County Council.

“I have stuck my neck out on a lot of issues that I think are really important and when you do that you become a target,’’ Pike said. “There’s a rule of thumb that when you’re running for office you shouldn’t get involved in other races. I got involved in the County Council race in District 4. She (Quiring) didn’t have much name recognition to begin with so it was really important to me that a conservative be elected to that position.

“I knew getting involved would cost me some votes,’’ Pike said. “I made a calculated decision. I usually win with 58-59 percent. I knew I would drop some. When you get involved in contested primaries, you support people who are supporting the other Republican. But, I knew if I didn’t get involved and the most conservative candidate didn’t win and I still had my nice comfy margin, I wouldn’t be happy. I gambled a little bit but it was important to me to support someone I knew would support the rural land rights of the people in the north end of my district.’’

The race for Position 1 was even more lopsided as Republican Brandon Vick (43,521 votes, 63.31 percent) held a double-digit lead over Democrat Justin Oberg (25,110 votes, 36.53 percent).

For more election results, go to https://www.clark.wa.gov/elections/results.

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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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