in Our View: Decision Time!

Exciting statewide and local showdowns add spice to Aug. 17 primary



Two indicators have us thinking the Aug. 17 primary could be one of the most inclusive and exciting primaries in Clark County history.

Last Wednesday, a record 218,162 primary ballots were mailed from the local elections office. And, County Auditor Greg Kimsey is projecting a local turnout of up to 40 percent, a few percentage points above primary turnouts in recent years. That higher turnout projection could be attributed to the fact that several open races (no incumbent) are on the ballots. We’d also like to think the higher turnout is triggered by the popularity of the top two primary system, as well as the voters’ greater desire for civic involvement, although that last theory cannot be proved.

Remember, this is not an election, nor is it a nominating process run by the political parties. As approved by the U.S. Supreme Court, our state’s top two primary is a winnowing process that belongs to the people, not the parties. The top two vote-getters in each race will advance to the Nov. 2 general election. We urge your careful consideration of candidates and issues, and your participation. Here are a few other notes about the primary:

Headline battles include an open race for the 3rd Congressional District, a showdown for U.S. Senate and one open legislative seat in each of the 17th and 18th districts.

For an online voters’ guide:

The primary only affects races with three or more candidates. In races where only two candidates appear on the primary ballot, both will advance to the Nov. 2 election.

If you have not received your mailed ballot by Friday, contact the Clark County elections office: 360-397-2345.

For many people, the preferred way to vote is using the red drop box near West 14th and Esther Streets, because it’s convenient. The box is available 24/7 through primary day.

Parents, this is a learning opportunity. Invite your children to observe your review of the candidates and your participation in this great American freedom.

To review Columbian endorsement editorials, visit A summary is posted below. Candidates are endorsed equally, except when first and second endorsements are noted:

U.S. Senator, Washington state — Incumbent Democrat Patty Murray and Republican challenger Dino Rossi

3rd Congressional District representative — Republican Jaime Herrera and Republican David Castillo

17th Legislative District, state representative, Pos. 2 — 1. Democrat Martin Hash; 2. Republican Paul Harris

18th Legislative District, state representative, Pos. 1 — 1. Republican Ann Rivers; 2. Democrat Dennis Kampe

Clark County assessor — 1. Republican David Horowitz; 2. Republican Daniel Weaver

Clark County prosecuting attorney — 1. Democrat Tony Golik; 2. Republican Brent Boger

Clark Public Utilities commissioner, Dist. 2 — 1. Incumbent Nancy Barnes; 2. Mike Lyons

Vancouver City Council, Pos. 4 — 1. Incumbent Bart Hansen; 2. John Jenkins

Washington Supreme Court justice, Pos. 1 — Incumbent Jim Johnson

Washington Supreme Court justice, Pos. 6 — Incumbent Richard Sanders

Washington Court of Appeals, Pos. 2 — Jill Johanson

Fire District No. 6 — request to renew a levy that has been in place since 1980. The Columbian recommends a “Yes” vote.

Washougal EMS services — request to renew current levy. The Columbian recommends a “Yes” vote.

Fort Vancouver Regional Library District Proposition No. 1 — Request to increase property tax levy to 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. The Columbian recommends a “No” vote. A rebuttal op-ed is published here.