The first day of filing week at the Clark County Elections Office wrapped up Monday evening with 125 candidates declaring intent to run for federal, state or county office, including a couple of curveballs.
Two previously undeclared candidates filed surprise campaigns to represent Clark County districts in Olympia.
Justin Forsman, a three-time candidate for Vancouver City Council, filed to run for the state’s House of Representatives in Washington’s 49th Legislative District. He’ll run as a Republican, challenging the Democratic incumbent Rep. Sharon Wylie.
Park Llafet, a Republican, has also previously announced his intent to run against Wylie, though he’s yet to file his campaign with the county auditor. The district covers west Vancouver.
Forsman, 32, launched unsuccessful bids for the Vancouver City Council in 2015, 2017 and 2019.
While he hasn’t formally announced his campaign for state representative, Forsman has been politically active on his social media channels. A recent post to his Twitter showed a sign he brought to an anti-closure rally at the state capitol Saturday: “COVID-19 DANGER IS A HOAX,” the sign read.
The second unexpected campaign filing Monday came from Rick Bell, a Democrat running to represent Washington’s 18th Legislative District in the state senate. The 18th District encompasses north and east Clark County.
Bell, who has not previously sought public office in Clark County, will challenge Republican Sen. Ann Rivers. No other opponents of either party have announced a primary challenge to Rivers.
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 the end of the week, 5 p.m. Friday, to meet the deadline.
Unfolding as expected
Few surprises materialized elsewhere on the roster of candidates during the first day of filing week.
As expected, two people filed to run for U.S. Congress representing Washington’s 3rd Congressional District. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, will officially seek a sixth term. Carolyn Long, a Democrat and Washington State University Vancouver professor, is mounting her second challenge against the incumbent.
A third potential candidate, Martin Hash, did not file a campaign with the elections office on Monday. The state of his candidacy is unclear — he still has an active “Hash for Congress” Facebook page, but has not filed any paperwork with the Federal Elections Commission or formally declared a campaign.
In all, six people have so far filed state Senate campaigns with the elections office: the incumbent senators Rivers, John Braun (R-20), Curtis King (R-14) and Lynda Wilson (R-17), as well as challengers Bell and Daniel Smith (D-17).
For the state’s House of Representatives, 14 candidates have declared: the incumbent representatives Wylie, Monica Stonier (D-49), Larry Hoff (R-18), Brandon Vick (R-18), Paul Harris (R-17), Vicki Kraft (R-17), Chris Corry (R-14), Gina Mosbrucker (R-14) and Ed Orcutt (R-20).
Their opponents so far include Forsman, as well as Democrat Tanisha Harris (challenging Kraft in the 17th District) and Democrat Donna Sinclair (challenging Vick in the 18th District). Brian Lange and Peter Abbarno, both Republicans, are vying for an open seat in the 20th District vacated by retiring Rep. Richard DeBolt.
Eight people so far have filed to run for open seats on the Clark County Charter Review Commission, which has 15 slots.
Another 70 people are running for party precinct committee officers as of 5 p.m. Monday. Clark County has 314 party precincts, with both Democrats and Republicans seeking leaders for each.
To view the full roster of candidates who have declared campaigns with the Clark County auditor’s office, visit clark.wa.gov/elections/candidates and click the link “List of Candidates that have Filed for Office.”