American voters are a strange lot. For almost two years, we’ve argued incessantly about the 2022 midterms, in which alleged political misdeeds from 2020 will be avenged.
Yet as of Friday, only about 16 percent of eligible voters had returned their ballots to the Clark County Elections Office. Auditor Greg Kimsey, the county’s top elections official, predicted earlier this month that turnout may wind up in the 40-45 percent range.
If so, that would be robust compared with recent primaries. But it also means a minority of eligible voters will decide important tax measures and choose which candidates move on to the Nov. 2 general election.
If you’re one of those approximately 275,000 people who haven’t colored in the bubbles just yet, you’re in luck. The Columbian has launched a new, reorganized page at www.columbian.com/elections where you can find a lot of information about candidates, races and ballot measures.
Part of that information includes editorial board endorsements in major races. In keeping with past practice, The Columbian’s Editorial Board invited candidates to take part in a group interview, which was recorded and is available, unedited, on our website and YouTube channel. You don’t have to be a subscriber to view the video.
After the group interview, the board selected the two candidates that we believe should advance to the November finale. Here are our recommendations:
- 3rd Congressional District: Incumbent Republican Jaime Herrera Beutler has served her district well and stands out in a field of Republican challengers running to her right, some of whom hold views that are downright frightening. For voters who think Herrera Beutler is too conservative, Democratic newcomer Marie Gluesenkamp Perez is the best choice.
- 17th Legislative District, House Position 1: Traditional pro-business Republican Kevin Waters is the best choice to represent his party. We also endorse his lone Democratic challenger, Terri Niles.
- 17th Legislative District, House Position 2: Six-term Republican incumbent Paul Harris towers above Trump admirer Earl Bowerman and perennial candidate Justin Forsman. Democrat Joe Kear also gets our nod.
- Clark County Council, District 1: Glen Yung and Hector Hinojosa have ideas that will propel the county forward.
- Clark County Council, District 2: Kim Hamlik and Michelle Belkot are the best of three good candidates.
- Clark County Sheriff: Vote for John Horch or David Shook. Voters who may be considering Rey Reynolds should be aware he has vowed not to enforce laws he personally disagrees with.
- Clark Public Utilities: After 30 years, Nancy Barnes remains an effective commissioner. Challenger Carol Dillin offers her perspective as a longtime corporate officer of Portland General Electric. Both are recommended.
Due to scheduling issues, the board was unable to meet candidates for the 18th Legislative District, House Position 2 and Clark County Council, Position 5 and thus does not offer endorsements. We plan to make endorsements in these races before the general election. We would note that in the 18th District race, John Ley’s name appears on the ballot. A judge has ruled him ineligible, so a vote for one of the other candidates is recommended.
Whether or not you agree with our recommendations, we hope they will spur debate and interest, and increase voter turnout. It’s our government; now is our chance to influence it.