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News / Clark County News

Shared name again creates confusion for city councilor Harris

By Andrea Damewood
Published: May 17, 2010, 12:00am

Jeanne Harris can’t get away from having to share her name.

The Vancouver city councilor, who at one point in her 14-year political career shared her first name with two other Jeannes (Councilor Stewart and former Councilor Lipton), said it’s happening again — this time with her last name.

Harris said she’s gotten a few calls from folks who have spotted signs along Highway 14 and on Southeast 164th Avenue reading “www.electharris.com,” and wanted to congratulate her on her latest run for office.

Except those signs belong to Vancouver Republican Paul Harris, who put the signs up last week as part of his bid for state representative in the 17th District.

The signs even fooled Jeanne Harris for a moment. While driving, “I had a knee-jerk reaction of ‘I’m running for something — oh phew, I’m not,’” said Harris, who ran unsuccessfully in 2000 as a Democrat for the same seat Paul Harris now seeks.

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So she sent her “name twin” (who is no relation) an e-mail, suggesting that perhaps he put his first name on his campaign signs.

Paul Harris said last week they talked about it a while. Then they decided a little name exposure, however mistaken (and on the other side of the political divide), isn’t a bad thing.

Paul Harris — who lost to now-Mayor Tim Leavitt in a 2003 Vancouver City Council race, and made a failed run at a state House seat in 2004 — said he plans to put his first name on his yard signs.

Jeanne Harris, unless she chooses to enter some other race, won’t have to campaign for the city council seat she’s held for 14 years until 2013 — she was reelected last fall.

“Jeanne is such an unusual name, you wouldn’t think this would happen,” she said, laughing.