Molly Coston leads race for mayor of Washougal

Initial results have her with 54 percent of vote

By Adam Littman, Columbian Staff Writer

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Molly Coston sings and plays the guitar, but Tuesday the sound of the kazoo brought her joy.

After initial election results were released, Coston was ahead in the Washougal mayoral race, bringing in 54 percent of the vote. Once results came out, Coston and her makeshift kazoo band played “Happy Days Are Here Again” on the 35 or so kazoos Coston bought and handed out to guests at her election party.

“We kazooed our hearts out,” she said.

Trailing Coston was current Councilor Dan Coursey, who earned nearly 42 percent of the vote, and write-in candidate Paul Godin, who scored 3.5 percent.

“I’m elated,” Coston said. “I was cautiously optimistic. I did not expect there to be such a big division. I’m very, very happy the voters decided to support me as much as they did.”

Coston was a Washougal city councilor from 2005-2011, and, coincidentally, lost her seat at Position No. 7 to Coursey. She said her time away from the council helped her better understand what issues resonate with the community.

“When I was on council, there were a lot of people who didn’t want to talk about issues because I was an elected official,” she said. “As soon as I became a private citizen, people wanted to talk.”

Coston is looking forward to getting to work in Washougal, where there are lot of highly motivated people looking to improve the city, she said.

“Working together, we can accomplish a lot and tackle some tough problems,” she said.

City council races

Coston looks like she’ll be joined by council newcomer Julie Russell, who led the race for Position No. 6 after Tuesday’s results. She had 55 percent of the vote to Adam Philbin’s 44 percent.

In Camas, Councilor Melissa Smith is ahead in her re-election bid for a fourth term. Smith brought in more than 68 percent of the vote to Emilia Brasier’s 30 percent.

Jon Stimmel is ahead in the race for Position No. 2 on La Center’s city council, with 57 percent of the vote to Larry Lewton’s 41 percent. Doug Boff, a member of La Center’s planning commission, holds a large lead in the race for Position No. 1 against Linda Tracy, a former city councilor.

Boff has 82 percent of the vote to Tracey’s 17 percent.

In Woodland, Janice Graham is on the way to unseating Councilor Jennifer Heffernan. As of Tuesday night, Graham had 56 percent of the vote, while Heffernan was at 43 percent. For Position No. 2, Carol Rounds brought in 63 percent of the vote against DeeAnna (Bob Motep) Holland’s 36 percent. Benjamin Fredricks leads Jeremy Heffernan with 55 percent of the vote, although Heffernan dropped out of the race weeks before the election.

The closest race in Woodland comes from Position No. 3, where Dave Plaza leads Nate Cook. Plaza, a former Woodland police detective, had 52 percent of the vote and Cook had 47 percent. Plaza leads with 390 votes to Cook’s 350. Plaza received a $200,000 settlement from a lawsuit against the city for his termination from the police department.

School districts

There were also a number of school district races across the small cities. In Hockinson, Steve Nylund looks like he’ll be re-elected. Nylund, the board chairman, had 59 percent of the vote as of Tuesday, while his competitor, Kirk Jensen, had 39 percent. Gordon Smith had 60 percent of the vote for District No. 5 in Hockinson, while Scott Swindell had nearly 38 percent.

Becky Greenwald has a large lead for her re-election bid for District No. 4 in Ridgefield. She scored 72 percent of the vote against Damion E. Jiles, Sr., who had 27 percent.

Over in Washougal, Donna Sinclair led in the race for District No. 3 with nearly 60 percent.

Jaron Barney, her competitor for the seat, had 39 percent.