This year, 133 residents of Clark County filed to run for elected offices that include port, fire, school and cemetery districts, as well as city councils and a special election for county council.
That number of candidates will be narrowed on Tuesday when voters return ballots for the 2019 primary election.
Whoever wins these races will influence the direction of local cities, which are grappling with how to provide services to the county’s burgeoning population. Also at stake are how school districts respond to enrollment and financial pressures. Additionally, four funding levies for education and emergency medical services will be on this upcoming ballot.
But, like other off-year primary elections, a majority of Clark County voters are expected to sit this one out. Clark County Auditor Greg Kimsey said he expects roughly 30 percent of voters to turn out for this election, up from 2017’s 20 percent turnout and 2015’s 25.8 percent turnout.
Kimsey said that ballots have to be postmarked by Election Day on Tuesday at the latest to be counted. Ballots can also be dropped off at seven ballot drop locations by 8 p.m.
The two candidates that receive the most votes in the primary will advance to November’s general election. Races with only two candidates will only appear on the November ballot, meaning just eight races are on the primary ballot. Unlike elections that occur in even-numbered years, races on this year’s ballot are nonpartisan. The one exception is a special election for the partisan Clark County Council.
Clark County Council Position 4
The special election for Clark County Council will determine if Gary Medvigy, a former Army general and California Superior Court judge, will keep his council seat after being appointed to fill a vacancy in January. Medvigy, a Republican, will face off with Democrat Adrian Cortes, an educator and member of the nonpartisan Battle Ground City Council.
Although he’s lived in Clark County for only a few years, Medvigy has touted the skill set he’s developed during his career in law and military service as an asset to county government. He’s taken firmly conservative positions on taxes and property rights as he seeks to keep his seat representing the rambling and rural District 4.
Cortes has highlighted his deep roots in Clark County and experience in local government, including serving as the current chair of the board of directors for C-Tran. He’s made his call for the county to undergo a “visioning” process, similar to Battle Ground, central to his campaign. He’s also taken fiscally conservative positions, opposing taxes and costly plans to replace the aging jail.
This race is the only partisan election that will appear on the ballot this year. A quirk in state law requires all partisan races to appear on the primary and general election ballot regardless of the number of candidates running. That means that while the race will appear on the primary ballot, only the results of the general election will count. Whoever wins the race will have to run again in 2020 for a full four-year term.