An incumbent Clark County councilor filed to run for re-election on Friday, with one major change — he’s dropped his Republican affiliation, instead deciding to run without a party preference.
John Blom will seek to retain his District 3 seat for a second term, filing with the Clark County Elections Office to appear on the Aug. 4 primary ballot.
“Having done the job for the last four years, I really feel like it should be a nonpartisan position,” Blom told The Columbian on Friday, adding that he feels issues like roads and public safety shouldn’t be viewed through a Republican or Democratic lens. “It’s much more in line with the city council, which is a nonpartisan position.”
Blom’s had a fraught history with the local faction of the Republican Party. When he ran in 2016, they snubbed him from their endorsement list and voted to formally oppose his candidacy. Last year, Blom joined a chorus of local GOP leaders who called for the resignation of party Chair Earl Bowerman after Dan Clark –a man convicted in 2011 of sneaking into the bedroom of a 15-year-old when he was 43 — was promoted to a committee chairman position.
“It’s no secret the Republican Party has not been thrilled with me,” Blom said. “I think this gives me an opportunity to broaden my relationships in the community.”
He added that he no longer serves as a Republican precinct committee officer, and doesn’t consider himself a member of the party anymore.
Blom filed for re-election with just a few hours to spare, rounding out a filing week at the Clark County Elections Office that began at 9 a.m. Monday and concluded at 5 p.m. yesterday.
When he filed at 2 p.m., Blom was the sole candidate seeking the seat. Within 90 minutes, two partisan candidates had mounted challenges: Republican Karen Bowerman, a former congressional candidate in Oregon and wife of the aforementioned party chair Earl Bowerman, and Democrat Jesse James.
The county saw a handful of other last-minute campaign filings Friday.
Davy Ray and Devin Gray, both Democrats, filed to run for U.S. Congress representing Washington’s 3rd Congressional District.
The first-time candidates will appear on the primary ballot alongside fellow Democrat Carolyn Long, who’s trying for a second time to unseat Republican incumbent Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler.
Independent and perennial candidate Martin Hash is also running for the position.
At the state level, Washington’s 17th Legislative District has a new candidate in Republican Bryan White. White is mounting a primary challenge against the incumbent, Republican Rep. Paul Harris. The 17th District encompasses east Vancouver and north Clark County.
In the 49th Legislative District, which covers west Vancouver, two independent candidates threw their hats into the ring Friday: Kelli Danielle Fiskum and Troy Potter. Fiskum will challenge Rep. Sharon Wylie, and Potter is seeking the seat held by Rep. Monica Stonier. Both incumbents are Democrats, and both are also facing challenges from Republicans Justin Forsman and Park Llafet.