Brong ahead in Skamania County commissioner race; McKenzie holds slim lead

By Tyler Graf, Columbian county government reporter

Published:

 

Skamania County will have some new faces in elected offices.

Chris Brong, a Republican, appears to have defeated Honna Sheffield, a Democrat, in the county commissioner District 1 race, with 52 percent of the vote in Tuesday.

The two entered a general election runoff after receiving more votes than incumbent Paul Pearce in the August primary.

Meanwhile, Doug Mc-Kenzie, a Republican, held a 55-vote lead over Jim Waters, also a Republican, in the county commissioner District 2 race. That race is still to be decided. The post formally was held by Jim Richardson.

The economy and improving revenue distribution in Skamania County were the top campaign issues.

Brong, a former Bureau of Land Management employee and a local field director for the U.S. Sportsman's Alliance, called for fiscal responsibility in rebuilding the county's reserve fund. He said the county's budget was in a reactive mode, based on uncertain federal funding.

Sheffield proposed cutting commissioners' hours, pay and benefits by 75 percent to save money.

County commissioners receive an annual salary of $57,300.

Waters said during the campaign that he would fight to open federal forests for logging. McKenzie stressed job growth throughout Skamania County.

Brian Altman won another round on the bench as Klickitat/Skamania Superior Court judge Position 1, running unopposed. He's served in that capacity since 2010.

Dennis Gale was elected to the Public Utility District, also running unopposed.