Former BG mayor running for 18th District state rep seat


Former Battle Ground Mayor and City Councilor Philip Johnson will run for Washington State Representative Position Two for the 18th District. Johnson was elected a member of the Battle Ground City Council from 2011-23 and served two terms as mayor during that period, from 2018-19 and 2022-23. In December of last year, Johnson did not run for reelection citing the need to make up for time lost in city government.

Johnson said the 2024 redistricting is the reason he is reentering the realm of politics. The redistricting, which shuffled the boundaries of the 18th District, restricted state Sen. Ann Rivers, La Center during her ongoing term, and she opted to not seek reelection. La Center and other cities north of Battle Ground were placed into the 20th District after the rezoning. Johnson aims to replace District 18 state Rep. Greg Cheney, who is running to replace Rivers as senator.

“(Reps.) Cheney and [Stephanie] McClintock have done a wonderful job over the last two years. He’s trying to move up, and I’m trying to move in,” Johnson said. “It’s the same [reason] as 2011, as I’m sitting on the couch and complaining about something I’m reading in The Columbian or The Reflector, my wife says ‘Hey, either shut up or go do something,’ and here I am again at that point.”

One of Johnson’s focuses is protecting retired seniors in his district. He said that as inflation rises, Social Security has not kept up, and some seniors are vulnerable to losing their homes.

“I’ve talked to quite a few people regularly in a little mobile home park in (Battle Ground). A California company bought the park last year, and the lot rental rates have gone from $600 to $1,050., and no one can take $450 a month just right out of the gate [out] of their budget.”

Johnson will champion Initiative 2117 on the November ballot, which would repeal the state’s Climate Commitment Act if approved. He blames the law’s cap-and-trade system to reduce carbon emissions for raising gas prices in the state. He also supports policies protecting the use of natural gas appliances.

“The want currently is to eradicate natural gas, period, from the [state]. If you believe in free choice with natural gas and electricity, you can pick either or you can take both,” Johnson said.

Johnson will also support policies that make areas like Battle Ground, Hazel Dell and Orchards a better place for job creation.

“Working in Oregon should be your second or third choice, not necessarily your first choice,” Johnson said. “Hopefully, your first choice could be somewhere on this side of the river.”

Johnson will campaign door-to-door and plans to print signs for his candidacy. A website for his campaign will be made at a later date. Residents with questions can reach Johnson at philip@

Republican John Ley and Democrat John Zingale are also running for the 18th District Position 2 seat. A primary election for the candidates will take place Aug. 6 with the top two candidates advancing to the general election in November.