Gluesenkamp Perez leads Kent in 3rd Congressional District after first ballot returns

The Democratic candidate from Skamania County is up by more than 11K votes as of Tuesday, Nov. 8; next count expected Wednesday evening

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Democratic candidate for Washington's 3rd Congressional District Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, right, looks skyward while Republican candidate Joe Kent gives his closing remarks on Saturday during a debate at the Vancouver Community Library. (Contributed photo courtesy of Taylor Balkom/The Columbian)

Washingtonians may not know for a few days exactly how every race in the Nov. 8 midterm election turned out thanks to the state’s rule allowing ballots to be postmarked by – instead of turned in by, as is the rule in many other vote-by-mail states – Election Day. 

After the first round of ballot counting, Democratic Congressional candidate Marie Gluesenkamp Perez led Republican Joe Kent for Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler’s seat in Washington’s 3rd Congressional District.

As of this newspaper’s print deadline, according to election results released at 8:17 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8, Perez was winning Clark County voters by nearly 18 percentage points (58.44% to Kent’s 40.92%) and the districtwide vote — which includes Clark and Skamania counties as well as Cowlitz, Lewis, Pacific and Wahkiakum counties — by 52.59% compared to Kent’s 46.84%.

Other preliminary results released Nov. 8, showed:

  • Republican incumbent Rep. Paul Harris was holding on to his 17th Legislative District, Position 2 seat, and beating his Democratic opponent Joe Kear 52.52% to 47.37%.
  • Candidates for the 17th Legislative District’s Position 1 seat — Democratic candidate Terri Niles and Republican Kevin Waters — were within 2 percentage points of one another, with Waters, of Skamania County, leading Niles 50.87% to 49.02% across the district.
  • Clark County Auditor Greg Kimsey appears to have won his reelection, and was leading his challenger, Brett Simpson, 71.71% to 27.97% on Election Day. 
  • Incumbent Clark Public Utility District No. 2 Commissioner Nancy Barnes also took a definitive lead on Election Day and was winning her reelection over challenger Don Steinke by 65.83% to 33.77%, with a lead of more than 33,000 votes, as of Tuesday, Nov. 8. 

Clark County voters also divided their support for several amendments to the Clark County Charter proposed by elected members of the Clark County Charter Review Commission. 

As of Tuesday, Nov. 8, the following charter amendments were winning voter approval by wide margins: 

Amendment No. 11 (65.65% approval): This amendment would require the Clark County Council to consult with other county executive elected officials in a public meeting before appointing a county manager. 

Those in favor of the amendment argued the rule was needed because “the county manager plays an important role in managing Clark County and meeting its statutory functions and obligations, including budget proposals, contracting, human resources, information technology, facilities and general support services for all the county departments and offices” including those involving the offices of the county’s executive elected officials, and therefore needed more vetting.

Opponents said the rule was “unnecessary” as “the Council already has the freedom to consult with other elected officials during the hiring process” and said the amendment would create “several new conflicts.”

Amendment No. 13 (66.12% approval): This amendment would add a section to the Charter “to require the county assessor, auditor, clerk, prosecuting attorney, sheriff and treasurer provide a certified list of senior office employees to serve in that official’s role if the position becomes vacant” until the voters could decide who they wanted to put in that position during the next general election.

Advocates for this amendment argued the resolution was “about promoting efficient and effective public governance and not about the use of political power and control, which ultimately creates disruptive politics and a disruptive county government.

While opponents contended that advocates simply disliked the fact that the Council chair has the “authority to make decisions, so they want to change the rules to gain power” and argued the proposal was “nothing less than a blatant attempt to micromanage and remove even more control from elected officials … (and) all about politics, hiding behind a bureaucratic screen.”

One amendment – Amendment 12 — was winning by a very thin margin of 1 percentage point on Election Day, with 50.85% approving the amendment that would add a preamble to the Clark County Home Rule Charter to, as proponents said, “(express) the unifying visions and philosophies that guided local leaders in its formation, and which may inspire future county leaders and charter reviewers.”

The following amendments were failing as of the first round of ballots counted on Election Day:

Amendment 10 (57.87% rejected). This amendment would allow ranked-choice voting for the county’s elected positions. 

Those who supported the amendment argued that “ranked-choice voting is a better way to vote: it gives voters more choices and more say. That means less negative campaigning and less gridlock in government.”

But opponents contended the rule would “destroy a system that isn’t broken” and said the idea was “convoluted and disenfranchises voters who are less likely to vote while attempting to keep (them) from electing the candidate of (their) choice.”

Amendment 14 (58.68% rejected): This amendment would reduce the number of signatures needed to submit a petition for an initiative or referenda and allow the transfer of signatures to a mini-initiative. 

Opponents of this measure argued that Clark County already “specifies the shortest timeframe to file a referendum to a new ordnance – 10 days” and said the amendment “does nothing to improve this unreasonably short deadline” or remedy the fact that “if this measure is passed, Clark County would still require twice the percent of signatures required for a Washington state referendum.”

Amendment 15 (61.38% rejected): This amendment would require the county manager to establish a diversity and inclusion officer position to advise the county manager, County Council and other county managers “on matters concerning diversity and inclusion.” 

Supporters said the amendment was necessary and that, “as Clark County continues to grow, our local government is falling behind and has already faced multiple lawsuits that could have been avoided with consistent, meaningful diversity and inclusion practices” and that ”diverse and inclusive workplaces have been shown to have more public trust and to earn deeper commitment from their employees, which improves job satisfaction and productivity … and are more fiscally responsible … more attractive to workers, encourage employee retention and prevent expensive, unnecessary lawsuits.”

Opponents said the amendment was a repeat of a measure that recently failed to gain support with Clark County voters and urged voters to reject the amendment because it is “unnecessary … creates a new permanent, unaccountable layer of government … (and) will result in quotas and more divisiveness.” 

The county will continue to release updated ballot counts from the Nov. 8, 2022 General Election throughout for the next several days and will certify the election on Nov. 29. For updated election information, visit the Post-Record online at