Harris gains nearly 50% of votes

Also in 17th, challenger Wilson outpolls incumbent Stonier

By Tom Vogt, Columbian science, military & history reporter

Published:

 
photoRep. Paul Harris R-Vancouver

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photoRichard McCluskey Democrat

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photoRep. Monica Stonier Democrat

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photoLynda Wilson Republican

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Incumbent state Rep. Paul Harris came close to cresting the 50 percent mark in a three-way primary race for the 17th Legislative District's Position 2.

The Vancouver Republican earned 49.82 percent of the vote in primary balloting announced Tuesday night.

Democrat Richard McCluskey claimed 40.09 percent of the primary vote, earning the right to challenge Harris in the Nov. 4 general election.

In the other 17th District contest, Republican challenger Lynda Wilson outpolled Democratic incumbent Monica Stonier by 244 votes in the opening round of their Position 1 race, which will continue through to the Nov. 4 general election. While Wilson and Stonier were the only candidates to file and their advancement was not in doubt, they still had to go through a two-person primary because the spot in the Legislature is a partisan position.

Harris, campaigning for his third term in the state House of Representatives, got 7,941 votes while McCluskey got 6,390 votes. Chris Rockhold, a Libertarian, was eliminated with 1.590 votes — 9.97 percent.

"I'm happy with the support from the district," Harris said in a Tuesday night phone interview. "It's a very swing district."

After two terms and four years in office, Harris said "One thing I've learned is to stay in the district, go to a ton of events, meet a lot of people. It's critical to meet with everyone, have no preconceived notion of who you will support or what idea you will like."

In a phone interview, McCluskey said that he already knows his focus for the next few months.

Meeting voters "face to face is the key to winning a race in this part of the country," McCluskey said.

"It's about perseverance and constant activity," McCluskey said. "I am campaigning from the moment I open my eyes in the morning; often, before I open my eyes. There is always research to do, people to see face to face."

Wilson, former chairwoman of the Clark County Republican Party, received 8,148 votes — 50.67 percent — to outpoll Stonier, the first-term Position 1 incumbent.

"We've got a strong team," Wilson said in a Tuesday night interview on CVTV. "What we're doing is working," she added.

Stonier, who has some ground to make up, said on CVTV that she's been in this position before, when she won the Position 1 seat in 2012.

In the 2012 primary, "I was several points behind where I am tonight," Stonier said. "We're really excited about the numbers."