It was a good evening for most incumbents as first results from the primary election were released late Tuesday. Voters narrowed several races, showed their early preferences in races where both candidates advanced, and decided some fire district and school measures. Republicans, in particular, also chose dozens of precinct committee officers, to represent them in the divided Clark County party.
The top local race brought possibly the least drama as voters set up a widely expected rematch in the 3rd Congressional District race between incumbent Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, and Democrat Carolyn Long, a faculty member at Washington State University Vancouver. Both easily outpaced three lesser-known opponents. In the district, which includes all or part of eight Southwest Washington counties, Herrera Beutler was polling 54.5 percent to 41.3 percent for Long. Long had only 47.4 percent in Clark County, which she narrowly won two years ago.
One of the most interesting races was taking place in east-central Vancouver, home to County Council District 3, where the power of incumbency was pitted against the power of political parties. In a three-way race, incumbent John Blom faced Republican Karen Bowerman and Democrat Jesse James, neither of whom has held local elective office.
According to first returns, voters are favoring the partisans, with Blom trailing. Bowerman had 43 percent, James had 34 percent and Blom had about 23 percent.
Blom had won his seat in 2016 as a Republican, but later split with the party, saying that local government offices should be nonpartisan. Bowerman, wife of the GOP county chairman, has sharply criticized Blom and said the county wastes money on “feel-good programs,” which she has repeatedly declined to identify. James, who describes himself as a liberal and a fan of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, says he thinks county government spends its money responsibly.