Clark County races offer little suspense

They all had two or fewer candidate, meaning they all advance to November ballot

By Tyler Graf, Columbian county government reporter

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Tuesday’s primary Races for elective offices in Clark County provided few surprises.

With the exception of the sheriff’s race — pitting four candidates against each other, and advancing only two — most of the races were purely by the numbers.

And the numbers were predictable.

The races for county commissioner, treasurer, clerk, prosecuting attorney and assessor all had two or fewer candidates, meaning each candidate will advance to November’s general election despite the outcome of the primary.

In the highest-profile race, county commission candidate Craig Pridemore, a Democrat, came out on top with 57.82 percent of the vote. His opponent for the District 3 seat, former Vancouver Councilwoman Jeanne Stewart, a Republican, received 41.95 percent.

While there were just two candidates running, ensuring both would advance to the general election, eyes were on what percentages the candidates would pull in. Primary elections for commissioner races are restricted to district voters.

District 3, mostly encompassing Vancouver, leans more Democratic than rural north county. A poor turnout for Pridemore in the primary would be a bad sign for him in the general election. It still might be, Pridemore said.

“It’s going to be a struggle,” he said. “It’s more Republican (in north county).”

While Stewart said she would have liked to have seen the numbers higher, she was optimistic she’d make up the difference in the general election.

“This is (District 3). We all know it is the very largest concentration and focus of Democratic Party voters,” she said. “When you run as a Republican, you will always wish you have the majority here … but it’s not always realistic.”

Labor leader Ed Barnes is temporarily filling the District 3 seat until the end of the year. He was appointed to the position about two months after former Commissioner Steve Stuart stepped down to become Ridgefield’s city manager. Barnes said during the appointment process that he had no intention of running a campaign.

Commissioners Tom Mielke and David Madore passed on appointing Craig Pridemore, who’d said he was interested in running a campaign.

In the county’s other races, there were few surprises as incumbents topped their political opponents.

In the treasurer’s race, Doug Lasher, the county’s longest-serving elected official, received more votes than his opponent Lauren Colas, 55.26 percent to 44.61 percent.

Clerk Scott Weber, in his first term, received 55.37 percent of the vote to Deanna Pauli-Hammond’s 44.45 percent.

In the prosecuting attorney’s race, incumbent Tony Golik received 54.93 percent of the vote, and Josie Townsend pulled in 44.89 percent.

Assessor Peter Van Nortwick netted 54.43 percent of the vote to Darren S. Wertz’s 45.17 percent.

County Auditor Greg Kimsey is running unopposed and received no significant write-in challengers.