First primary results: Atkins, Gardner lead sheriff’s race

Herrera Beutler to face Dingethal; some legislative incumbents finish second

By Craig Brown, Columbian Metro Editor

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Clark County voters today advanced Chuck Atkins and Shane Gardner to be the next sheriff and gave an endorsement to two-term Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, who will face Democrat Bob Dingethal in November.

First results showed Atkins, a retired sheriff’s commander, with 41 percent of the vote and Gardner, a sheriff’s sergeant, with a 32 percent share.

Herrera Beutler captured 47 percent of first ballots, while Dingethal has 41 percent.

In legislative races,two incumbents trailed. Former county Republican chairwoman Lynda Wilson outpolled first-term Democrat Monica Stonier in the 17th District. In the 18th, first-term Republican Brandon Vick trailed Democrat Mike Briggs. All four candidates will advance to the general election.

Under Washington’s law, the top two candidates in each race advance to the general election, regardless of party.

Vick appeared to split the vote with conservative Republican John Ley, who gained 26 percent of the votes compared with 34 percent for Vick and 40 percent for Briggs.

In the 49th Legislative District, voters preferred Republican Lisa Ross over Carolyn Crain to challenge Democrat Jim Moeller for the Position 2 House seat. Moeller had defeated Crain, a regular on the public meetings circuit, two years ago. For the other seat, Incumbent Sharon Wylie and Republican Anson Service advanced.

The election also gave a preview of some county races, including for an open seat on the Board of Clark County Commissioners. Former commissioner and state senator Craig Pridemore, a Democrat, outpolled Republican challenger Jeanne E. Stewart, who last year lost her re-election bid to the Vancouver City Council. He held a 15 percentage point lead. However, only voters in District 3, which encompasses Vancouver’s relatively liberal west side, voted in the primary. In the November general election, all county voters will weigh in, including those in conservative enclaves outside the Vancouver city limits, such as Felida, Salmon Creek, Battle Ground, and Orchards.

In another November preview, Democratic Prosecutor Tony Golik outpolled attorney Josephine Townsend 55-45 percent as he seeks to defend the seat he won only four years ago.

Voters also appeared to narrow the Clark Public Utilities commissioner field to incumbent Byron Hanke and former commissioner Jane Van Dyke, eliminating Michael Piper and Bill Hughes. Like the county commissioner race, only voters in that commissioner district were eligible to vote.

In the election’s only ballot measure, voters approved emergency services levies to support programs in Yacolt and North Country Emergency Services response area. They need 60 percent to pass but received closer to 80 percent of the vote.

Turnout was light as voters continue to get used to summer elections. Only 22 percent of the ballots mailed to voters nearly three weeks ago were returned in time to be included in Tuesday’s count. More ballots will be counted in the days ahead, but elections officials said this week it looks like turnout may not reach the earlier prediction of 35 percent.

More ballot totals should be released late Wednesday afternoon.

Full results from Tuesday night are available on the county elections department’s website.

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