Filing week for the 2020 elections happened last week, with nearly every legislative race being competitive, including close to 60 candidates for a temporary position on a commission designed to look at the Clark County Charter.
As of the end of the day May 15, 88 candidates for the Washington State Legislature, U.S. congressional representative, or charter review commissioner had entered their names into races. The bulk of those candidates — a total of 58 — were in the running for charter review commissioner, which will have 15 individuals elected to potentially propose changes to the county home rule charter, first approved by voters in 2014.
Washington U.S. Representative District 3
Current Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler will have a few familiar challengers to her bid for re-election in 2020. Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, once again faces off with Democratic candidate Carolyn Long, who contested the incumbent’s re-election in 2018 though was ultimately defeated when Herrera Beutler gained 52.7 percent of the vote in that year’s November contest.
Herrera Beutler and Long will be joined by another previous candidate, Martin Hash, who filed for candidacy without a political party preference. Hash ran as a Democrat in 2018, gaining less than 1 percent of a seven-way vote in the August primary that year.
The race also features two newcomers, both Democrats, in Davy Ray and Devin Gray. Compared to 2018, Herrera Beutler faces fewer challengers in this year’s race.
Washington state Legislature
All but one statehouse legislator representing sizable parts of Clark County will be facing challengers in 2020’s race. The 20th Legislative District has both the most-contested race and the least-contested, with the former being a race for the state representative seat to be vacated by outgoing seatholder Richard DeBolt, R-Chehalis.
DeBolt has endorsed fellow Republican Peter Abbarno to take the seat, though he will face challenges both within the party and from a Democrat and independent. Motorcycling lobbyist Brian Lange, of Morton, had previously announced his candidacy as a Republican, and has been joined by Timothy Zahn, a Democrat, and independent Kurtis Engle in the August primary.
DeBolt’s counterpart in the house, Ed Orcutt, R-Kalama, will be running to maintain his seat, though he faces a challenger in Democrat Will Rollet.
State Sen. John Braun, a Republican representing the district, does not have a challenger in his re-election bid this year as of the end of filing week.
To the south of Legislative District 20, all the races for the 18th Legislative District are competitive. Incumbent Republicans Brandon Vick and Larry Hoff will have Democratic challengers to their seat, with Kassandra Bessert and Donna Sinclair facing off against Vick and Hoff, respectively.
Legislative District 18’s state Sen. Ann Rivers also faces challengers in a larger spread set to go to a primary election, as the Republican legislator faces Democrat Rick Bell and Republican John Ley, according to election filings.
Closer to Vancouver, the race for the 17th Legislative District has two-person races, though in one case both candidates are Republicans. Incumbent Paul Harris will face fellow party member Bryan White, while Harris’ counterpart in the House, Vicki Kraft, has a challenger in Democrat Tanisha Harris (no relation to the other incumbent). Tanisha Harris had previously challenged Kraft, losing in 2018 with a roughly 51 to 49 percent spread in favor of the incumbent Kraft.
Republican State Sen. Lynda Wilson also has a Democratic challenger, as Daniel Smith has entered the race.
Clark County Council
Both Clark County Council seats up for re-election are competitive this year, as incumbents face challengers though not necessarily across the political aisle.
District 3 Councilor John Blom will face off against Republican Karen Bowerman. Though in 2016 for his election Blom ran as a Republican, he has stated no party preference in this year’s filing. Blom was one of numerous individuals in the local Republican party who had signed onto a letter calling for the resignation of county party chair and Bowerman’s husband, Earl, following the discovery that he and other party officials allowed for the appointment of Dan Clark to an official position within the party. Clark had been previously convicted on charges of having a relationship with a minor.
Blom’s counterpart faces a less-controversial challenge, as Republican Gary Medvigy, who represents the county’s fourth district, will face Matt Little, an independent.
Charter Review Commission
Of all this year’s contests the races for the Clark County Charter Review Commission contain the most candidates. Seeking to fill 15 seats on the commission, 58 individuals have filed to run. There are three seats per Clark County Council district, as well as three for at-large positions. The following is a list of each candidate, as well as pertinent elected or appointed experience with the county.
At-large, Position 1
Doug Lasher, former county treasurer
Tom Mielke, former county councilor
At-large, Position 2
Eric Holt, former candidate for Clark County Council chair in 2018
David Gellatly, former Clark County Republican Party chair
M. Kirby Ware
At-large, Position 3
Mike Dalesandro, Battle Ground city councilor and former mayor
District 1, Position 1
District 1, Position 2
District 1, Position 3
Barbara Taft Chen
District 2, Position 1
District 2, Position 2
Joel Mattila, Clark County Republican Party state committeeman
District 2, Position 3
Dorothy Gasque, former candidate for U.S. Congressional House Representatives
District 3, Position 1
District 3, Position 2
District 3, Position 3
District 4, Position 1
District 4, Position 2
District 4, Position 3
Liz Pike, former Washington state representative
Races with more than two candidates will go to a primary election in August, with the top-two heading to the November general election, alongside candidates with races featuring two or fewer candidates.