Voters, take note: Many judicial races will be decided in the Aug. 7 primary
For several judicial races, the Aug. 7 primary is not a primary at all but a decisive event. Different rules apply in these races. Those rules are complicated and vary between local and state levels. But basically, any judicial candidate who receives a majority of votes in this primary (ballots were mailed Wednesday) will be declared the winner of the election. With that in mind, here are The Columbian's endorsements for judicial races:Superior Court Judge, Dept. 2: By his conduct in and out of the courtroom, Judge John Wulle's self-inflicted wounds have rendered him unworthy of being returned by voters to the bench he has occupied for 12 years. Challenger David Gregerson offers a composed demeanor and enough experience as a judge pro tempore to earn The Columbian's endorsement.
Incumbent's strengths, plus foes' weaknesses lead to easy call
Jaime Herrera Beutler continues to strengthen her political bona fides as she nears the end of her first term in Congress. An independent streak that enables her to occasionally step beyond the Republican Party consensus has been refreshing in the bitterly partisan Congressional arena. Her laser focus on "what's best for the people of the district" reminds her constituents in the 3rd Congressional District that they are her boss.The Camas Republican is The Columbian's lone endorsement in the Aug. 7 primary because of her strengths, plus her two opponents' weaknesses. Neither Jon Haugen, a Vancouver Democrat, nor Norma Jean Stevens, an Ocean Park libertarian, is gaining any meaningful traction in this campaign.
Vancouver legislator, Kirkland businessman are top two candidates for state auditor
Replacing Brian Sonntag will be a difficult task for the next state auditor. The retiring Sonntag leaves a legacy of independent accomplishments that is admired by conservatives and liberals alike. During 20 years as state auditor, he consistently championed open government and performance audits to the extent that, last Sept. 29, we editorialized: "Washington taxpayers have no greater friend than Brian Sonntag."Fortunately for voters in the Aug. 7 primary, replacing Sonntag is facilitated by the emergence of two impressive candidates. One — outgoing state Sen. Craig Pridemore, D-Vancouver — has broad legislative experience and keen insight into government's auditing responsibilities. The other — Kirkland businessman James Watkins — has an extensive private-sector auditing background.
High-quality candidates emerge in race for county commissioner
Joe Tanner and Ron Barca know a lot about Clark County. Tanner served in the Legislature during the 1980s and was the first director of the Columbia River Economic Development Council. Barca has served 13 years on the Clark County Planning Commission and understands key issues such as growth management and agriculture.They're both driven to public service for the best reason: to make a great community even better.
Clark County commissioner's race showcases two strong candidates
Solid experience in state and local government strengthens the candidacy of incumbent Clark County Commissioner Marc Boldt. Fresh ideas and thorough preparation enhance the qualifications of newcomer Roman Battan.Those qualities lead The Columbian to endorse Republican Boldt and Democrat Battan in the Aug. 7 primary. Ballots will be mailed Wednesday. After the primary advances the top two vote-getters from this four-man race, we'll announce a single endorsement for the Nov. 6 general election. But already we're impressed with Boldt's little bit of the old and Battan's little bit of the new.
Redistricting creates open seat;two impressive candidates emerge
For more than a decade, residents of the 18th Legislative District have been served by Republican state Rep. Ed Orcutt. That seat in the Legislature is now open, although Orcutt has not decided to leave the Legislature or move from Kalama. Essentially, the 18th is leaving Orcutt.The decennial redistricting process redirected Orcutt into the 20th District, where he's running for re-election, and reduced the 18th District to the confines of Clark County, including most of north county, plus Felida, Camas and Washougal. With Orcutt's shift northward comes two strong candidates, each making a first run for the Legislature and both listing a wealth of community service as preparation for the job.
Voters are fortunate to have two high-quality candidates in primary
Although politicians of all partisan stripes chant "jobs, jobs, jobs" as the three most important issues of 2012, it is difficult to overlook education as a key issue in one particular local race for a state representative's post.