Based on the first ballot count for the August primary, first-time candidates spurred on by pushback against recently-approved gun control Initiative 1639 are moving onto the November general election for Battle Ground City Council.
The first count of ballots was released tonight, with about 20.3% of voters countywide taking part in the primary. Of North County cities, only Battle Ground had primary races with three or more candidates, with about 18.4% of voters in the city participating.
Battle Ground City Council
For Battle Ground City Council Position 3, all three running were newcomers, seeking to fill current councilor Stephen Phelps’ seat. Leading the pack in that race is Shauna Walters, an Army veteran and organizer for North County Sons and Daughters of Liberty. She garnered about 48.9% of the vote as of the first count. Coming in second was former city parks advisory board member Neil Butler with about 38.9% of the vote while current city planning commission member Candy Bonneville had about 17.2%.
For Battle Ground City Council Position 7, incumbent Philip Johnson managed to get the most votes with about 46.2% as of first count. Coming in second was Joshua VanGelder, another North County Sons and Daughters of Liberty member, with 33.8% of the vote, while Katrina Negrov, an office manager at a local trucking company, came in third with about 20% of the vote.
Both Walters and VanGelder decided to run for office in part due to Battle Ground City Council’s current stance not to make itself a “sanctuary” from I-1639, a voter-approved ballot measure last year that imposes restrictions on the sale of semi-automatic rifles in the state.
One race on the ballot is more of a dress rehearsal for the November general election, as only two candidates had filed for the Clark County Council District 4 seat, meaning both move on. Incumbent Gary Medvigy, a retired California judge and Army general, had 58.2% of the vote as of the first count. Medvigy, a Republican, was appointed to his position in January. His opponent, current Battle Ground City Council Member Adrian Cortes, got 41.8% of the vote as of first count. Cortes is running for the position as a Democrat.
School, EMS levies
Ballot measures outside of elected races in North County seemed poised for success as of the first count of votes. The Green Mountain School District’s vote to replace an expiring property tax levy had about 66% of voters approving the $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed value tax, with vote totals of 138 for, to 71 against.
North County EMS’ vote to lift its operations levy also looks likely to pass as of the first vote count. The ballot measure, which would raise the property tax rate from 34 to 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed value for emergency service, was passing with 81.5% of voters in the district voting in approval. The measure was also passing in Yacolt with 85.9% approval and in parts of Cowlitz County served by the district with about 83.1% in favor of the vote.
Clark County Elections is anticipating about 11,000 more ballots to count with about 47,500 already counted. The next count is scheduled for 5 p.m. Aug. 7.