Hogan leads Camas mayoral race; voters stick with Camas School Board incumbents

Initial ballot counts shows Camas City Councilman Steve Hogan is leading Chamber of Commerce director Jennifer Senescu 57-43 in race to lead city

Incumbent Camas School Board member Erika Cox, a longtime Camas schools volunteer, hopes to retain her District 2 board seat in the Nov. 2, 2021 General and Special Election. (Photo courtesy of Erika Cox)

Incumbent Camas School Board director Corey McEnry hopes to retain his District 1 seat in the Nov. 2, 2021 General and Special Election. (Photo courtesy of Corey McEnry)

Camas City Councilman Steve Hogan has a substantial lead in the Camas mayoral race. With more than 70 percent of the ballots counted countywide, Hogan leads his challenger, Camas-Washougal Chamber of Commerce Director Jennifer Senescu, 57-43, with 2,336 votes to Senescu’s 1,779 votes. 

“I’m feeling pretty good,” Hogan said Tuesday night. “And there’s a lot I’m looking forward to. We have important negotiations and studies with the Camas-Washougal Fire Department coming up. Safety is a priority and we need to work on that right off the bat.”

The city also has quite a few open staff positions at the moment, including hiring a permanent city administrator and a new lead planner. 

“We have a pretty good size list for the city administrator, so I’m eager to review those (candidates).” Hogan said. 

The likely new Camas mayor said he is much more comfortable managing people and running the city’s day-to-day business than he was on the campaign trail. 

“I’m not a very great politician,” Hogan said Tuesday night, laughing. “I don’t have a lot of political ambition — I just want to get in there and do the work. … Running a political campaign was not very much fun for me.”

Hogan will likely be sworn-in to his new role at the Camas City Council’s first meeting in December. 


Hein leads race for Hogan’s city council position

In the race for Hogan’s Ward 2, Position 2 Camas City Council seat, Camas Planning Commissioner Tim Hein has a substantial lead over his opponent, Martin Elzingre. 

As of the ballot count at 8 p.m., Nov. 2, Hein was winning by more than 20 points, leading Elzingre 61-39 with 2,271 votes to Elzingre’s 1,467 votes. 

Other Camas City Council races were much closer Tuesday night. 

Leslie Lewallen is leading former Washougal city councilor Jennifer McDaniel 53-47 with 2,075 votes to McDaniel’s 1,858 votes, as of 8 p.m. Tuesday, in the race for former Camas City Councilor Ellen Burton’s Ward 3, Position 2 seat. Burton, who was appointed interim mayor by the council after the sudden departure of then-Mayor Barry McDonnell in the spring of 2021, said weeks before McDonnell’s resignation that she did not intend to run for reelection to the city council in 2021. 

In the race for longtime city council member Melissa Smith’s Ward 1, Position 2 seat, Camas School District Human Resources Director Marilyn Dale-Boerke is leading her opponent, Camas businessman Gary Perman, by a very slim margin as of Tuesday night. Dale-Boerke has 1,999 votes (51 percent) and Perman has 1,936 votes (49 percent). 


Voters stick with Camas School Board incumbents 

Camas School District voters have spoken, and they want things to remain the way they are. 

As of Tuesday night, both Camas School Board incumbents — Erika Cox and Corey McEnry — are leading their challengers — insurance agent Jeremiah Chevrolet Stephen and Lacamas Magazine owner Ernie Geigenmiller — by wide margins. 

Cox leads Stephen 62-38 with 2,993 votes to Stephen’s 1,829 votes, and McEnry leads Geigenmiller 59-41 with 2,859 votes to Geigenmiller’s 1,967 votes. 

Both school board incumbents said they felt the vote was a referendum and showed strong support for the way the school board has handled everything from the COVID-19 pandemic to its work on equity, diversity and inclusion. 

“I’m very excited. I feel that this is a message of support to keep going in the directions that we’re going — for keeping student success at the top of our decision-making, keeping students and staff healthy,” Cox said Tuesday night. “I’m excited that this is the message our community has sent. They’ve said, ‘Yes, keep doing what you’re doing. Keep questioning and asking and working with the community.’” 

McEnry agreed. 

“I think this vote was absolutely a referendum on what we’ve been doing for the past year and a half and longer,” McEnry said Tuesday night after the first ballot results came in. “This is a vote of confidence, but I won’t forget the 40 percent who disagree, and we will keep listening to those folks and trying to bridge that divide.” 

Cox said she also hoped the people who voted against her and who have been questioning the school board’s handling of the pandemic and other issues will know the board is still listening. 

“They want to be heard, and they have been heard,” Cox said. “We’ve got to make some decisions, but it doesn’t mean (they) aren’t part of the process. People need to understand that we want to hear them and understand them. But let’s have more of a dialogue.”

Both Cox and McEnry said they are looking forward to serving on the board as it makes its final decision on a new superintendent of schools later this year, and of furthering the district’s mission of “seeing and serving each student.” 

“Let’s keep thinking of all students, keep thinking about equity and putting all students in the forefront of our decisions,” Cox said.