Ridgefield school board incumbent Morris to face Vance in November

Two votes separated pair as of Tuesday; Bauges far behind

By Howard Buck, Columbian staff writer

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The primary winner is unknown.

But, it’s certain that challenger Joe Vance will battle 12-year incumbent Wendi Morris in November for her Position 2 seat on the Ridgefield School Board.

In Tuesday’s vote count, Vance led Morris by a thin margin: 736 votes to 734 votes, or 46.8 percent to 46.7 percent.

Finishing a distant third was Brad Bauges, chief executive officer for Columbia Credit Union.

Bauges pulled 89 votes, or 5.7 percent.

Vance, 43, is a commercial litigation attorney with seven children, six now in Ridgefield schools. He moved to the Ridgefield district 13 years ago. A graduate of Prairie High School, he works at the Miller Nash law office in Vancouver.

“Wow,” said the first-time office seeker, who has voiced no criticism of Morris.

“It’ll be a good opportunity for voters” in November, Vance said. “They have two good choices. I just think getting a fresh set of eyes and ideas for the district could be good, and I’d like to have the opportunity to serve.”

Morris, 42, is a 1987 graduate of Ridgefield High School and mother of three Ridgefield students. She has served on the board since 1999.

She noted the low voter turnout — barely more than 18 percent — but is confident residents will be clued in to a competitive board race.

“I’m appreciative of the votes I received,” Morris said, “and look forward to the next couple months of, hopefully, opportunities for Joe and I to get to the issues, so people can hear us out and make their decision.”