State Rep. Harris ends guessing: He won’t run for county commissioner

By Lauren Dake, Columbian political writer

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Even before Commissioner Steve Stuart, the lone Democrat on the three-member Clark County Board of Commissioners, decided not to seek re-election, his Republican counterparts had his successor in mind: State Rep. Paul Harris, R-Vancouver.

Republican Commissioner David Madore took to Facebook early in 2013 to blast Stuart — and declared that Harris would try to oust the Democrat in the 2014 election.

Until now, Harris would not say if he would make a run for the seat. But Friday, in an editorial board meeting at The Columbian, Harris said he is happy serving as a state legislator.

Asked point-blank if he were running for county commissioner, Harris said, “Heavens no.”

“I like where I’m at,” Harris told the editorial board.

“I like being a state legislator. I enjoy it, and I’m going to stay right where I’m at,” he said.

Harris said he did consider running for the position, but that he held off making a decision until after the Legislature adjourned in March.

So far, no Republicans have announced they will run for the seat, which represents the southwest corner of the county, including a large portion of the city of Vancouver. Several of the Democrats in the running to be appointed to the remainder of Stuart’s term have indicated they will run.

In county commissioner races, only residents of that commissioner district vote in the primary. The top two candidates, regardless of party, then advance to the November ballot, where all county voters choose the winner.

Filing week for candidates begins May 12.

Harris not running for county seat