<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=192888919167017&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Tuesday,  June 25 , 2024

Linkedin Pinterest
News / Politics / Clark County Politics

Local GOP officials largely for Trump

With few exceptions, he seems to have their vote

By Lauren Dake, Columbian Political Writer
Published: August 21, 2016, 6:03am

U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler knew the question about Donald Trump was next.

Go ahead and ask, she told a reporter on primary night earlier this month.

With high-profile Republicans making headlines by disavowing the presidential candidate, how local GOP elected officials plan to cast their vote in November is serving as a litmus test for voters.

Normally, it’s assumed partisan officials will vote for their party’s presidential candidate, according to Jim Moore, a political science professor and director of the Tom McCall Center for Policy Innovation at Pacific University in Oregon. If a candidate is unpopular, which most often happens with incumbents, officials simply won’t ask for an endorsement or visit, he said.

“This time, for the first time since 1968, we have a large number of local office holders going public with whether or not they will simply vote for the party’s presidential candidate,” Moore wrote in an email. “In 1968 this was an issue among Democratic office holders with a pro-Vietnam War Hubert Humphrey at the top of the ticket.”

Clark County Auditor Greg Kimsey said he felt compelled to share how he’s voting.

“I will not be voting for Donald Trump,” the lifelong Republican said.

There’s the misogynist comments, the way Trump referenced Mexican immigrants and all the inflammatory rhetoric, Kimsey said. But for the auditor, there’s one particularly dangerous line of thinking.

“The reason we’re able to transfer political power in this country without violence or uproar is the citizens have trust in the election system,” Kimsey said. “And for a presidential candidate to undermine that confidence is attacking the very core of our country.”

Clark County council Chair Marc Boldt is giving his reluctant support.

“I’m probably holding my nose and voting for Donald Trump,” he said, adding “the only reason I would vote for him is I hope the Senate and House balance it out.”

And if they don’t?

“We’re in trouble,” Boldt said.

Rep. Liz Pike, R-Camas, is in: “What (Trump) has said is nothing compared to what Mrs. (Hillary) Clinton has done.”

Stay informed on what is happening in Clark County, WA and beyond for only

Rep. Brandon Vick, R-Felida, is a “yes” vote. So is Rep. Paul Harris, R-Vancouver: “I know what (we’ve) had for the last eight years, and I don’t want that for another four, so I’m willing to try.”

Clark County Councilor David Madore urged his friends to vote for Trump on his Facebook page, saying “to do so otherwise would be unthinkable.”

Rep. Lynda Wilson, R-Vancouver, who is running for Sen. Don Benton’s seat in the Senate, said she’s undecided.

“That campaign is fluid and changes every day. I imagine I’ll probably not know how I’m voting until I pick up my pen and mark my ballot. I know I cannot vote for Hillary Clinton,” Wilson said.

Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, is Trump’s campaign chairman for Washington state and has been a vocal champion of the candidate.

Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, said she’s too focused serving her constituents to focus on the presidential race.

“I haven’t given it much thought because all the electors in Washington state are going to (Clinton) and the president will be announced before my vote is counted.”

Clark County Assessor Peter Van Nortwick said he’s not a Trump fan.

” I have concerns over Mr. Trump, but not as many concerns as I have with Hillary Clinton,” he said.

As for Herrera Beutler, a Republican U.S. representative from Camas, she continues to hold out hope that Trump will “earn her vote.”

On the Democratic side, the question of supporting Clinton has not been as divisive, particularly after Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., endorsed Clinton.

Clark County Councilors Julie Olson and Tom Mielke could not be reached for comment, nor could Republicans Clark County Sheriff Chuck Atkins and Clerk Scott Weber. Councilor Jeanne Stewart declined to name her top pick for president.

Columbian Political Writer