The city of Vancouver has done what the nation failed to do in 2016: elect its first female head of government. Anne McEnerny-Ogle has a considerable lead with 74.7 percent of the initial vote.
“I’m just a little shocked by the numbers, those are fantastic numbers,” McEnerny-Ogle said amid a sea of emotional supporters. She was emotional herself and needed to take a breath before continuing to express her excitement and gratitude.
“I have kept my focus for these 11 months,” she said. “I didn’t want to take anything for granted.”
McEnerny-Ogle’s election also checks a box for Clark County. Each city has now had a female mayor.
The last female mayor in the county was Lisa Walters in Battle Ground in 2012.
McEnerny-Ogle ran against Steven Cox, who received 23.5 percent of the vote. Cox withdrew from the election in late September after he inaccurately claimed during a council meeting that Councilor Jack Burkman had violated his First Amendment rights earlier that week at a neighborhood association meeting.
A last minute write-in candidate, Jonathan Sauerwein, formally filed after Cox announced his withdrawal. Sauerwein received just less than 1 percent of the vote.
McEnerny-Ogle said she’s “just tickled” to be Vancouver’s first female mayor.
“All of our other little cities have had women mayors. What took us so long?” she said.
Burkman was on-site as the news spread that McEnerny-Ogle won the mayoral seat. In fact, he broke the news to her minutes before official results were posted online.
“She is the right person at the right time,” Burkman said. “She’s been embedded in this community and anybody who works with her knows just how much she devotes to her community. I have no idea when she sleeps.”
Election night may feature another possible first for the city as a deceased candidate holds a large, early lead to win a seat on the council. Scott Campbell, the primary favorite, died Sept. 17 as a result of multiple organ failure stemming from a battle with cancer. Campbell’s name remained on the ballot. He received 61.5 percent of the vote for the seat vacated by Burkman, who is not seeking re-election.
“Everyone’s just so excited,” said Jim Mains, Campbell’s campaign spokesman. “Tonight is about Scott. After he won the primary, he was so taken aback he won. We are picturing right now that he’s just elated and jumping up and down and elated that the community rallied around him.”
Maureen McGoldrick ran against Campbell for the council seat. But she was a relative mystery to the community. She received 37.2 percent of the early vote.
As long as the voting results hold, the position will go to the council in January for appointment. Residents can apply for the position, which will be reviewed by the city council. Mains is the early frontrunner for the position, with support coming from Burkman and other city residents.
“For me personally, it’s going to be about looking at my time, my energy and sitting down with my family and doing my homework before I make my decision,” Mains said. “I honestly never thought I would be in this position to even think about it. I do feel like I owe it to Scott and the people who have asked me (to consider applying).”
Incumbent Alishia Topper will serve a second term as a city councilor in Position 2. She earned an overwhelming majority with 78.7 percent of the preliminary vote. Topper’s opponent, Justin Forsman, received only 20.8 percent.
“I’m relieved,” Topper said. “I think any time you run for an election, especially re-election, you don’t know how the votes will turn out.”
She added that she’s very encouraged by the response and is “excited to continue working on behalf of the citizens of Vancouver.”
Linda Glover will replace McEnerny-Ogle as Position 3 councilor. Glover received 66.5 percent of the early vote. She ran against Michelle Beardshear, who garnered 32.8 percent.
“It’s been a three-year goal so I’m relieved at that part but I’m very, very excited that I have this large margin of support from the city of Vancouver,” Glover said. “It’s a big job ahead of us.”
She added that she’s excited to get to work with the rest of the council and “meet the challenges that Vancouver has coming to it.”