A local race between ideological foils will likely hinge on which candidate can court moderate voters, despite a decidedly partisan primary election that unseated an incumbent with more spending power.
Karen Bowerman, a Republican and staunch conservative, and Jesse James, a Democrat and Bernie Sanders-style liberal, will appear on the Nov. 3 general election ballot for Clark County Council District 3. The candidates advanced after defeating moderate incumbent Councilor John Blom, a former Republican who ran without a party affiliation in the Aug. 4 primary election.
Political observers say the remaining candidates’ party affiliations were key to overcoming Blom’s incumbency advantage and comfortable fundraising lead.
“One sort of obvious thing for me is independents are always going to have a tough time in primaries when they’re running against people from two different parties,” said Mark Stephan, an associate professor of political science at Washington State University Vancouver. “I think, these days, partisanship has become so overwhelmingly potent as the indicator.”
The race will be decided only by voters within the district, which covers east Vancouver. But it will determine whether the five-member council maintains a current majority voting bloc of Democrats and moderate Republicans or leans in a more conservative direction.