Cortes re-enters House race against Vick

By Stevie Mathieu, Columbian assistant metro editor

Published:

Updated: August 24, 2012, 6:34 PM

 

Republican Adrian Cortes announced on Friday afternoon that he’s back in the race for the 18th District’s Position 1 House seat also being sought by fellow Republican Brandon Vick.

Cortes had dropped out of the race, but he missed the withdrawal deadline, so his name still appeared on the Aug. 7 primary ballot. The Battle Ground city councilman’s candidate statement also remained in the primary voters’ pamphlet.

Despite Cortes’ announcement that he would withdraw due to family obligations, he and Vick both advanced to the Nov. 6 general election after a write-in campaign by a third Republican, Peter Silliman, failed to get enough votes.

In the primary, Vick received nearly 58 percent of the vote while Cortes got more than 31 percent. Silliman received nearly 7 percent of the vote, while about one-quarter of those who voted in the 18th District declined to vote in that particular race.

Cortes’ announcement is the second blow in two days to Vick’s campaign. On Thursday, Vick was passed over by Cowlitz and Clark counties’ commissioners for the appointment to finish the House term most recently held by state Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center. It’s the seat he and Cortes are now vying for.

In June, Rivers was appointed to complete the final months of Joseph Zarelli’s Senate term. Zarelli resigned from office May 18.

Vick was the Republican Party’s top choice for the appointment to replace Rivers. Instead, commissioners appointed the Republicans’ second choice, Liz Pike, who is running in the other 18th District House race (Position 2).

During the past few days, Cortes said he has received more than 100 requests from people in the community to reconsider his decision to drop out.

“I looked at the primary results as well as the outcome of the appointment process, and the large amount of daily calls, texts, and emails from supporters asking me to reconsider,” Cortes said in a news release. “It became clear to me that the people want another choice. … The result of the commissioner vote was a significant factor in my decision to re-enter the race.”

In early June, Cortes said he was pulling out of the race because his schedule was too busy. Running for office and working as a legislator would mean he would miss out on family time, he said.

Since then, Cortes said his wife has agreed to make some sacrifices so Cortes could pursue his calling.

“She said, ‘Look Adrian, if this is something you’re being called to do, I’ll alter my work schedule and make it so you won’t be missing the family,’ ” Cortes said in a phone interview Friday. He has two young daughters and is also pursuing a bachelor’s degree and working as a real estate investor.

Vick, who previously served as chairman of the Clark County Republican Party, did not immediately return a call Friday afternoon.

Cortes said he is running to provide voters with a choice, and he has no ill feelings toward Vick.

“Brandon is a great guy,” he said. “I have nothing against him personally.”