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News / Politics / Clark County Politics

James, Medvigy lead in Clark County council races

By Jack Heffernan, Columbian county government and small cities reporter
Published: November 3, 2020, 10:55pm
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Jesse James
Jesse James Photo Gallery

In the two races for the Clark County Council, one is too narrow to call, while the other is headed toward an incumbent victory.

For the District 3 seat, Democrat Jesse James lead with 51.25 percent of the vote over Republican Karen Bowerman, who held 48.75 percent on Tuesday night. Incumbent County Councilor Gary Medvigy lead the District 4 race with 55.68 percent over challenger Matt Little, an independent, who had 44.32 percent of the votes.

Bowerman, a staunch conservative, led with 44.3 percent of the votes in the Aug. 4 primary election, while James, a Bernie Sanders-style liberal, finished second with 33.89 percent.

They ousted incumbent Clark County Councilor John Blom, a former Republican who ran without party affiliation and finished with 21.57 percent of votes. Around the time polls closed Tuesday, Bowerman had outspent James $33,687.76 to $21,034.84, according to the state Public Disclosure Commission.

Neither could be reached before deadline Tuesday night.

“Too close to call, but looking good so far,” James wrote on his Facebook page.

Fellow councilors unanimously appointed Medvigy to the District 4 seat in January 2019. He replaced Republican County Councilor Eileen Quiring O’Brien, who became council chair.

Medvigy in November 2019 retained his seat for the final year of the term after defeating the former Battle Ground City Councilmember Adrian Cortes, who now serves as the city’s mayor.

District 4, predominantly rural, covers east Clark County and most of the central part of the county.

Medvigy led the vote share in the Aug. 4 primary election with 59.91 percent over Little, who garnered 39.62 percent.

Medvigy was in “wait-and-see” mode after results were released Tuesday night. But he mentioned the county’s pandemic response and reforming the county code — particularly the sections about equestrian use — as some of his top priorities in a potential first full term.

“Very humbled by the support,” Medvigy said. “It was a weird election year without the ability to campaign in earnest. People recognize that I’m working hard for them and I’m working hard for everyone, no matter who it is.”

Little admitted that his election chances were “unlikely.”

He added that he hopes a county councilor will someday champion his idea for agreements with cities that would allow some rural landowners to transfer and sell development rights or credits — a plan he says would curb urban sprawl.

“I wished for better results, but it’s hard running against a Republican incumbent in a strong Republican district,” Little said. “We flipped some votes from the primary, and that’s because I had a good plan to grow our community in a better way.”

Columbian county government and small cities reporter