Race for chairman position should be entertaining


I’m not even sure this anecdote applies, but I’m going to try to connect the dots anyway for lack of a better alternative.

The National Basketball Association playoffs are just around the corner. During the postseason, analysts often repeat the old adage that a seven-game playoff series really doesn’t get interesting until one team has won on the other team’s home court.

When it comes to a similar battle in the political arena, I don’t think a race for an elected position gets interesting until you have the potential for acrimony. Considering the political climate in Clark County in recent years, it was likely a foregone conclusion that the race for the newly created position of Chairman of the Board of County Councilors was going to be an acrimonious one.

But now, I think it’s becoming official. In the last week, current Clark County Councilor Tom Mielke officially announced his candidacy, just days after Marc Boldt did the same. Boldt was Mielke’s fellow Clark County commissioner for many years before he lost to David Madore in his bid for a third term in November 2012.

In his press release, Boldt wrote, “I am running as a conservative Republican. This means that I pledge to conserve the values that have made our country great. But as I have done in the past I will serve and listen to everyone.’’

I had to keep reading that first sentence over and over to make sure he actually said that. Boldt, you likely remember, was sanctioned by the Clark County Republican Party during his last term as a commissioner because he endorsed Democrat Steve Stuart and also because he voted for a tax increase for C-TRAN, both against the wishes of his party.

The Clark County Republican Party then turned around and endorsed Madore in his bid to unseat Boldt. Madore won and took office and Boldt has been largely out of the Clark County political scene for the past two years. His once amicable relationship with Mielke also seems to have disappeared.

I didn’t agree with the sanctions. I believe once in office, Boldt was free to vote however his conscience dictated. However, when it came time for the next election, the gloves deserved to come off and his voting record was rightfully fair game for conservative Republicans.

In his announcement, Boldt went on to write, “I believe the current council has forgotten that the job of county government is not to control but rather to serve in a regional approach.’’

Don’t be mistaken. I am well aware of the large number of folks that Mielke and Madore have angered in the last two years. But, what a lot of people don’t want to admit is that they’ve pleased a great number of people as well. And, even though the angry voices are louder, it doesn’t mean they are greater in number.

“Unfortunately, the current council has spent its time on matters that divide the community,’’ Boldt wrote.

And, which side of that divide are you on Marc?

Say what you want about Mielke, but I challenge anyone to tell me the last time the guy lost an election (he served four terms as a Washington State representative and is in his third term as a Clark County councilor/commissioner). There’s a legion of people in this county who have voted for the guy multiple times.

In his announcement, Mielke said he had “a proven record of listening to and serving the people’’ and that since his first election to the Board of Clark County Commissioners, he “has been working to turn Clark County into an affordable place to live with good paying jobs for a good quality of life.’’

Now, here’s where I could be accused of burying the lede to this column, now in its 15th paragraph. There are indications, dare I say strong indications, that Madore will also throw his hat in the ring and run for the chairman position.

“I am considering,’’ Madore said when I asked him the question directly. “We are in the process of doing some research and we should know within a week whether or not that will be the case.’’

If Madore does decide to run for the chairman position, we’re all going to need a silo of popcorn within our arm’s reach because the show will be riveting entertainment. The plot lines are thick and they are a plenty.

“If I did jump in, it wouldn’t be to run against Tom (Mielke),’’ Madore said. “My intentions will always be good for Tom. We don’t need to challenge each other. I would just present a vision and a mission for the county and for the future and I would just say ‘If that aligns with you and rings true for Clark County, then I’m your guy.’’’

Adding Madore to the race with Mielke and Boldt would be compelling enough, but obviously the list of candidates wouldn’t stop there. Sen. Ann Rivers announced her candidacy in December and then pulled out in March.

Former Clark County Sheriff Garry Lucas showed some interest but appears to have decided against the idea.

I’m sure the race for Chairman isn’t going to be void of Democrats, especially considering the cast of Republican candidates could make it easier for a Democrat to survive the top two primary, but none have made it official.

Ken Vance



No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here