Clark County voters were giving approval to increasing the sales tax by 0.2 percentage point to maintain bus service, according to returns released Tuesday evening.
Meanwhile, state Rep. Sharon Wylie, D-Vancouver, took the lead over Republican Craig Riley for a 49th District seat.
Statewide, the Associated Press reported that Initiative 1183, which would privatize liquor sales, has passed. Nearly 60 percent of Clark County voters approved of it.
In the Vancouver City Council race, voters returned incumbents Larry Smith and Bart Hansen, while apparently electing newcomer Bill Turlay to a seat currently occupied by Pat Campbell. Campbell finished third in the August primary and was eliminated by Turlay and Anne McEnerny-Ogle. That race was tight; Turlay’s lead was only 656 votes out of almost 24,000 cast.
Turlay is one of three council candidates backed by financial and other support from local entrepreneur and conservative activist David Madore.
According to figures released by the Clark County Auditor, 78,336 votes were included in Tuesday night’s count. That’s about 34.6 percent of all ballots mailed. Another 23,000 ballots will be counted in the days ahead, according to Clark County Auditor Greg Kimsey. Most of those will likely arrive and be tabulated in the next couple of days.
Perhaps the year’s most contentious issue was C-Tran. A majority of county voters were favoring the sales tax increase, 54.15 percent to 45.85 percent. Proponents and C-Tran officials said the tax increase is needed to continue current services as the transit agency burns through its cash reserves. Opponents, including Madore, cast doubt on those claims and also argued that it was a referendum on light rail, even though a vote on operating funds for that project will be scheduled for next year.
In the only legislative race on the local ballot this year, Wylie took a 13 percentage point lead in a traditionally Democratic district. She led Riley 56.36 percent to 43.29 percent. She was appointed to fill an unexpired term after Jim Jacks resigned.
In Battle Ground, city council incumbent Paul Zandamela appeared to be defeated by challenger Adrian Cortes by 16 percentage points. Zandamela has been a lightning rod during his lone term on the council, while Cortes mounted a campaign that has lasted nearly a year. In other BG races, Philip Johnson beat incumbent Christopher Regan, while Deputy Mayor Phil Haberthur and his opponent, Shane Bowman, were only four votes apart.
In Camas, voters easily confirmed Scott Higgins as the new mayor. He was appointed earlier this year, and has defeated Ken Kakuk, a former city employee who had been terminated from his position. In a council race, Shannon Turk had 59.52 percent of the votes over activist Margaret Tweet.
Other mayoral leaders Tuesday: incumbent Jim Irish in La Center; Grover Laseke in Woodland (including Cowlitz County results, he had about 60 percent of the vote); and Jeff Carothers in Yacolt.
For full results, check this website later and read Wednesday’s print edition of The Columbian.