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Jan. 29, 2023

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Kraft reelected in 17th District; Bowerman wins Clark County Council race

By , Columbian county government and small cities reporter
Published:

Republican Rep. Vicki Kraft has clinched the race against Democratic challenger Tanisha Harris for Washington’s 17th Legislative District House seat, while Republican Karen Bowerman secured a victory in the Clark County Council District 3 race.

Kraft held 51.10 percent of the vote, a 1,783-vote lead, in updated results released Friday night by the Clark County Elections Office. The office has roughly 1,200 ballots left to count in the race, Clark County Auditor Greg Kimsey said.

Bowerman held 51.45 percent of the vote share over Democrat Jesse James. She led by 1,625 votes with 1,000 ballots left to count.

James narrowly led the race after the first release of results Tuesday night, but Bowerman closed the gap in the following days before taking the lead Thursday.

The Harris-Kraft race saw a similar trajectory, following a historical pattern of votes in Clark County trending toward conservative candidates later in the counting process.

In the Aug. 4 primary, Bowerman led with 44.3 percent of the vote, while James finished second with 33.89 percent. Incumbent Councilor John Blom finished with 21.57 percent and was eliminated from the race.

Around the time polls closed Tuesday, Bowerman had outspent James $33,687.76 to $21,034.84, respectively, according to the state Public Disclosure Commission.

The conservative Bowerman and liberal James competed to replace the moderate Blom, who served his term as a Republican but ran this year without a party affiliation. With Bowerman’s win, the county council will maintain a 4-1 Republican majority and likely lean in a more conservative direction.

District 3 covers east Vancouver. In 2016, the district’s most recent county council election, Blom narrowly defeated Harris with 51.17 percent of the vote.

Harris then ran against Kraft for the first time in the 17th District in 2018. In another tight race, Kraft won by 859 votes to secure a second term in Olympia.

In this year’s race, Harris out spent Kraft $316,322.40 to $97,409.04, respectively.

The 17th Legislative District covers east Vancouver, the southern part of Battle Ground and areas of unincorporated Clark County that surround them.

Voter turnout stood at 85.42 percent after the county elections office received an additional 590 ballots Friday. The number might rise as ballots postmarked by Tuesday continue to be delivered to the elections office.

More than 325,000 county residents registered to vote in Tuesday’s election. By Friday night, the number of ballots counted by the elections office represented 84.13 percent of all registered voters.

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Columbian county government and small cities reporter