Malinowski apparent winner in bid for seat on Clark Public Utilities board

By Eric Florip, Columbian transportation & environment reporter

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Jim Malinowski appeared victorious in his bid for a seat on the Clark Public Utilities Board of Commissioners on Tuesday night, grabbing a solid lead against Julia Anderson, according to preliminary election results.

Malinowski led by a margin of 53.8 percent to 45.8 percent -- a difference of about 9,000 votes.

"Based on what I've seen in the past, that kind of margin tends to hold up," he said.

If that's the case, he will join the three-member commission representing District 1, which covers north Clark County.

Malinowski, 74, is a retired utility engineer and a power utilities technology instructor at Clark College. This year was his third bid for a seat on the utility commission.

Anderson, 65, is a freelance journalist and former business editor at The Columbian. The race was Anderson's first run at elected office.

Malinowski said his background will bring an important perspective to the commission.

"Given the complex nature of the utilities business … I think it will be helpful to have a commissioner ask the right technical questions," he said.

Both Malinowski and Anderson spent more than $17,000 in their efforts to capture the commission's District 1 seat, according to the state Public Disclosure Commission. Malinowski collected 30 percent of the primary vote in August, besting six other candidates, while Anderson earned a second-place 17 percent to advance to the general election.

Records show Malinowski was the bigger spender after the primary, according to the PDC, reporting about $10,680 in campaign expenditures since then. Anderson reported just over $8,000 in expenditures.

Malinowski will succeed commission chairwoman Carol Curtis, who decided not to run for re-election after 30 years on the commission. Clark Public Utilities commissioners serve part-time and are paid no more than $36,160 per year.