The first count of ballots from the November election are in with one of two formal candidates challenging the Battle Ground City Council establishment looking ahead.
As of the count released shortly after 8 p.m. Tuesday, about 66,000 ballots have been counted in Clark County for a voter turnout of about 22.5 percent. About 25,000 ballots were estimated left to count, with the next tally expected at 4 p.m. Wednesday.
A complete report on votes, including those for advisory votes, will come as subsequent tallies are made. Results are available at the Clark County Elections website at results.vote.wa.gov/results/20191105/clark/.
The first count for Battle Ground City Council featured a newcomer motivated to run in part by statewide issues ahead, while incumbents in the other two races appeared poised for success given no major changes over subsequent counts. For Position 3, Shauna Walters had a lead with about 56.4 percent of the vote over Neil Butler’s roughly 42.9 percent. While both were potential newcomers to elected office, incumbent Philip Johnson was ahead of Joshua VanGelder, with 53.3 percent and 46.1 percent of the vote respectively for Position 7.
Both Walters and VanGelder have been associated with a pro-Second Amendment movement within Clark County, led by activists like Walters and Patriot Prayer founder Joey Gibson in opposition to last year’s Initiative 1639, which imposed greater restrictions on buying and storing firearms in Washington State.
Another Battle Ground race saw Shane Bowman headed to retain his seat with about 86.4 percent of the vote as of the first count. Though he had no official challengers Bowman had about 13.6 percent of write-in votes against him retaining Position 2 on council.
In La Center, city council incumbents had strong leads as of the first count of ballots. Mayor Greg Thornton looked poised to retain his seat with more than 79 percent of the vote against challenger Brittney Tracy’s roughly 20.3 percent, while Position 5 incumbent Elizabeth Cerveny had 68.8 percent over her opponent, Linda Tracy, who had about 30.1 percent.
La Center also had an uncontested city council race with Position 4 incumbent Tom Strobehn gaining all but two of the votes cast as of first count.
Ridgefield City Council was always slated to see at least one new face next year, though after the first count there will be two new on council if leads hold. For Position 2 Dana Ziemer had a lead of about 58.9 percent over fellow challenger Matt Swindell and his roughly 40.9 percent. Ziemer will replace outgoing councilor David Taylor if her lead holds.
As of the first count challenger Rob Aichele was set to unseat councilor Darren Wertz who has been the Position 5 councilor since election in 2007. Aichele had close to 57.1 percent of the vote Tuesday night compared to Wertz’ 42.6 percent.
The one Ridgefield incumbent likely to beat their opponent was Position 7 councilor Sandra Day, who had about 78.6 percent of the vote on challenger Ronald Rowan’s close to 30 percent.
Two incumbents on Ridgefield City Council are also likely to continue, as both Position 3 councilor Lee Wells and Position 6’s Jennifer Lindsay each had more than 96 percent of the vote on write-in candidates.
For the Port of Ridgefield race District 2 incumbent Scott Hughes looks likely to survive his first formal challenge since a 2009 election for the seat. As of the first count Hughes had close to 60.2 percent of the vote over challenger David Kelly and his roughly 39.4 percent.
In Woodland one city council race and a ballot measure increasing a property tax levy for increased police funding were each within a dozen votes as of Tuesday’s count. The police levy, which would increase the city property tax by about 63 cents per $1,000 assessed property value, had 336 votes for the measure to 347 against, giving a narrow “no” vote lead.
The Woodland City Council Position 5 race has two candidates seeking the seat to be vacated by Susan Humbyrd in the closest North County city council race. As of first count Scott Peabody led by two votes, 300-to-298, against DeeAnna Holland.
The other contested race on Woodland council was more decisive as of first count. For Position 4 incumbent Karl Chapman led with 59.5 percent of the vote over challenger Keith Bellisle and his close to 40 percent.
Races for Woodland mayor and city council Position 7 were uncontested, with incumbent mayor Will Finn and council candidate Monte Smith having leads greater than 94 percent over write-in candidates as of first count.
Clark County Council
The largest North County election has an incumbent appointed earlier this year poised to hang onto the District 4 seat. As of first county Republican Gary Medvigy led with more than 60.8 percent of the vote over current Battle Ground City Councilor Adrian Cortes, a Democrat with 38.9 percent of the vote.