Shane Bowman, a former Liz Pike supporter, announced he will challenge the Camas Republican for her seat in the state House.
Bowman, who was the mayor of Battle Ground until recently, voted for Pike to represent the 18th Legislative District, even putting up campaign signs with her name to show his support for his fellow Republican. But lately, he’s been frustrated with what he sees as her vacillating stance on the issues.
“She tends to test the water to see where she wants to go,” Bowman said. “She puts polls out, or whoever is giving her the most money or support, that’s where she goes.”
Bowman also criticized Pike’s failed write-in campaign effort last year for Clark County council chair. Pike said she wouldn’t campaign for the seat, but wanted to be elected.
“For her to be wishy-washy … I don’t like that,” he said. “I think we needed to support one of the two candidates running.”
One of his greatest achievements while mayor, Bowman said, was ending the acrimony that often defined the Battle Ground City Council. The ability to unify people is a skill he would use in Olympia, he said.
“When you’re a minority, a Republican in the House controlled by Democrats, you have to work with people, listen to their ideas. … You have to sit down and have dialogue and not close it off and not worry about the next election,” Bowman said.
During the write-in campaign, Republican Clark County Councilor David Madore contributed more than $260,500 to groups supporting Pike.
“Madore supported me when I ran for council,” Bowman said. “He probably thinks it’s the worst $1,000 he spent.”
“When I got into government, I was probably similar to Madore. I had reasons to get in. People made me mad,” he said. But he quickly realized that “when it comes to governing, the fighting doesn’t get us anywhere.”
“I think David means well. … He’s a business owner, he’s successful, he’s used to making a decision and that’s the way it’s going to be. But in government, it can’t be that way. You have to give-and-take. It’s not a dictatorship.”
On many policy issues, Bowman said he wouldn’t be surprised if he aligned with Pike. He’s a conservative, he’s in favor of smaller government, more local control and not raising taxes.
But he did blast the incumbent for her stance against the statewide transportation package. The $16 billion package carved out about $600 million for Southwest Washington and included money for Battle Ground, including funds to widen Main Street/state Highway 502.
The package also raises the gas tax 11.9 cents per gallon in two steps. The package was needed in Battle Ground, he said.
“She could take a ‘no’ vote on it and throw everyone under the bus,” he said.
Bowman said he’s not concerned that Madore will throw his money into the race and hurt his chances to win.
“I think people look at that and say we’ve seen this before and say, ‘We’re not interested in that,’ ” he said. “It’s sad to me that kind of money is being spent, and for what?”
Pike is running for re-election.
“I have a strong leadership to reform state government and fight against historic tax increases that hurt the families of my district,” she said. “I’m one of the hardest-working legislators in Southwest Washington and I’ve kept the promises I’ve made. This is something to be proud of and unfortunately all too rare in American politics.”
Lawmakers in the House are paid $45,474 a year for what’s considered a part-time job. Their pay will increase to $46,839 a year by September.