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News / Politics / Clark County Politics

Filing week begins at Clark County Elections Office with rush of candidates

Familiar faces seek posts in Olympia, Clark County, Washington, D.C.

By Dylan Jefferies, Columbian staff writer
Published: May 6, 2024, 6:45pm

The first day of filing week at the Clark County Elections Office wrapped up Monday evening with 161 candidates declaring their intentions to run for federal, state or county office.

Some candidates have been campaigning for months, but the formal filing process — which lasts only a week — often yields surprise candidacies and unannounced retirements.

Two previously undeclared candidates have so far filed campaigns to represent Clark County districts in Olympia.

Former Battle Ground mayor and city council member Philip Johnson filed quietly on Monday to run for the 18th Legislative District House seat, Position 2. Johnson did not seek reelection for his city council seat last year.

When reached for comment Monday, Johnson said that voters in the 18th District want “safe communities with well-funded law enforcement” and “affordability.”

“Time and again, we see tax proposals that my neighbors can’t afford,” he said.

He added that he is running to “make sure our neighbors have a commonsense voice representing them.”

Additionally, Melvin Kaleolani Apana, a Republican from Amboy, filed to run for the 20th Legislative District House seat, Position 1.

Apana did not respond to a request for comment Monday.

3rd District

As expected, three people filed to run for Washington’s 3rd Congressional District, this year’s marquee race.

Incumbent Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, D-Skamania, will face Republican challengers Joe Kent of Yacolt and Leslie Lewallen of Camas.

Republicans are eager to regain the seat Republican Jaime Herrera Beutler held for 12 years.

Kent, a former Green Beret and adherent of Donald Trump, bested the incumbent in a 2022 primary challenge but then lost in the general election to the unheralded Perez, a self-described moderate Democrat.

Kent announced his candidacy in January of 2023, and the Clark County Republican Party gave him an early endorsement in an effort to rally around a single candidate.

That decision upset some Republicans, including Lewallen, a Camas city councilor who argues that a rematch is unlikely to result in a flipped outcome.

17th Legislative District

Senate seat

Sen. Lynda Wilson, R-Vancouver, is retiring from the Legislature, and her seatmate Rep. Paul Harris, R-Vancouver, is running to replace her. Wilson has endorsed his bid.

White Salmon Mayor Marla Keethler, a Democrat, is also running for Wilson’s seat. She filed Monday.

Position 1

First-term incumbent Kevin Waters, R-Stevenson, is running for the seat Harris is vacating. Waters was the only candidate to file for Position 1 on Monday.

Position 2

Two candidates are vying for the 17th Legislative District’s House Position 2: Washougal Mayor David Stuebe, a Republican, and Vancouver nurse Terri Niles, a Democrat.

Niles lost a 2022 bid for the seat to Waters in the race to succeed Republican Rep. Vicki Kraft.

Carson Republican Hannah Joy has also announced that she is running for the seat, but she has yet to file. Joy lost a 2022 bid for the Position 1 seat during the primary.

18th Legislative District

Senate seat

Republican State Sen. Ann Rivers will not seek a fourth term, and three candidates have filed so far to fill her seat.

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One is Rivers’ current seatmate, Rep. Greg Cheney, R-Battle Ground.

Another is Democrat Adrian Cortes, a Battle Ground city councilor and former mayor.

Republican Brad Benton is also running. He ran unsuccessfully for the 18th Legislative District’s House Position 2 in 2022. He is the son of Don Benton, the former state senator and Trump administration official.

Position 1

First-term incumbent Stephanie McClintock, R-Vancouver, is seeking reelection. She was the only candidate to file for Position 1 on Monday.

Position 2

Democrat John Zingale, a Vancouver public school teacher, filed on Monday along with Philip Johnson. Zingale lost a 2022 bid for state House Position 1 to McClintock.

49th Legislative District

Sen. Annette Cleveland and Rep. Sharon Wylie, both Democrats from Vancouver, are seeking reelection this year. Both candidates filed on Monday.

Republican Brett Graham from Vancouver filed late on Monday to run for Wylie’s seat.

Rep. Monica Stonier, D-Vancouver, is also up for reelection, but she has not yet filed or announced her reelection campaign.

20th Legislative District

Sen. John Braum, R-Centralia and Reps. Ed Orcutt, R-Kalama, and Peter Abbarno, R-Centralia, are seeking reelection this year. They each filed on Monday. Abbarno will face Republican Melvin Apana for House seat Position 1. No other challengers have yet filed to run in the 20th Legislative District.

Additional candidates

Most of Monday’s filings were for positions as precinct committee officers.

As of 5 p.m. Monday, 96 people are running for party precinct committee officers. Clark County has 355 party precincts, with both Democrats and Republicans seeking leaders for each.

Two candidates filed for the Clark County Council District 3 seat. One is Wil Fuentes, a Vancouver resident who has a background in nonprofit program management, banking operations and higher education. The other is Chuck Keplar, a former Evergreen school board candidate. The seat is currently held by Karen Bowerman, who has not yet indicated whether she plans to run for reelection.

Jaime Herrera Beutler filed to run for commissioner of public lands.

The pool of candidates vying for every position on the Aug. 6 primary ballot is far from settled. Monday marked just the first day that candidates could file their campaigns — they have until 5 p.m. Friday to meet the deadline.

To view the full roster of candidates who have declared campaigns with the Clark County Auditor’s Office, visit clark.wa.gov/elections/candidates.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that Clark County has 355 party precincts.