The Columbian’s Editorial Board recommends Marc Boldt and Eric Holt as the top candidates in the primary race for Clark County chair.
As always, this is merely a recommendation designed to foster discussion. But it is a noteworthy recommendation in that it goes against what many will consider conventional wisdom in the race for county chair. The top two vote-getters in the four-candidate field for the Aug. 7 primary will advance to the Nov. 6 general election.
Boldt is well known to voters throughout Clark County. A former state legislator and former county commissioner, he was elected chair in 2014 as a voter-approved charter was implemented to reshape county government. Boldt has a strong understanding of his duties and a demeanor that welcomes dissenting voices.
During an editorial board interview with the four candidates, Boldt said, “When I’m out of this room, I don’t speak for myself, I speak for the council.” He also noted his role as a freeholder in helping to create the charter and his belief that it is the best form of government for Clark County: “We’re moving forward.” Boldt is a former Republican who now runs without a party affiliation, representing his desire and ability to guide the council in an inclusive fashion.
While Boldt is a familiar face, our recommendation of Holt might be considered surprising. Holt, a Democrat, is a relative newcomer, with his only political experience being an unsuccessful race for state Senate in 2016. That is where the importance of examining the candidates and the issues comes into play for voters. We believe the public will find Holt to be a thoughtful, articulate, well-informed candidate. He has a strong understanding of the issues, to the point of knowing the county’s bond rating for borrowing money.
Holt has received endorsements from retiring Clark County Treasurer Doug Lasher, state Reps. Monica Stonier and Sharon Wylie, and other notable county Democrats. Endorsements should not be the defining factor in deciding your vote, but it is notable when a newcomer draws the attention of those who understand how government works and who know which skills are required to best serve the public.
Holt might have a difficult time reaching the general election, with Boldt and county Councilor Eileen Quiring on the ballot. Quiring, a Republican, has experience and knowledge that mark her as a worthy candidate, but her defense of former Councilors David Madore and Tom Mielke is disconcerting. Saying that she agreed with many of their policies and “I think it was just a mix of people; I think that David Madore moved too fast with policy,” Quiring fails to recognize the damage the Madore years inflicted upon the county.
It is essential for Clark County to avoid a repeat of the dysfunction and infighting brought about by Madore’s mismanagement, and Quiring should be able to see and willing to call out that dysfunction.
Christy Stanley, a Democrat, also is on the ballot. As an owner of marijuana businesses, she is focusing on getting the county to overturn its moratorium on marijuana, but does not demonstrate the broad-based understanding of the issues that is necessary for a county chair.
Marc Boldt and Eric Holt demonstrate the appropriate skills for Clark County chair. The Columbian’s Editorial Board recommends them in the Aug. 7 primary.