Yung and Hinojosa, Belkot and Roberts have strong showings for the Clark County Council seats

With three of the five Clark County Council offices on the ballot this year, many voters are paying close attention to the outcome of the District 1, District 2 and District 5 races.

Many of the candidates are political newcomers who hope to bring fresh ideas and fresh faces to the predominantly Republican council. District 1 incumbent Temple Lentz and District 2 incumbent Julie Olson each announced in April that they would not seek re-election. District 5 Councilor Richard Rylander Jr., who was appointed in May by Gov. Jay Inslee, is hoping to win his first full term.

This is the first election for the council offices since voters approved a November 2021 ballot measure that makes all county officers, including alderman, treasurer, auditor, assessor, clerk and prosecutor, nonpartisan positions.

District 1

According to Tuesday’s preliminary election returns, the top two candidates in the District 1 race are Glen Yung and Hector Hinojosa. Yung received 4,490 votes, or 45.73 percent of the votes cast. Hinojosa received 3,081 votes, or 31.38 percent of the votes cast.

As it stands now, Doug Coop is in third place with 2,247 votes, or 22.89 percent of the vote.

Yung, who lives in Vancouver, spent his career in finance before starting a remodeling business with his wife. Yung has put housing affordability, homelessness and public safety at the top of his priorities.

“I think it’s fantastic. I have had a lot of help,” he said. “It’s a great position to be in, but I still have my work cut out for me.”

Yung said he wasn’t necessarily surprised by the early election results.

“The best way I can gauge how people are feeling is to get out there and knock on doors,” he said. “I got a good reception when I knocked on doors, so I was hopeful.”

Hinojosa, of Vancouver, co-founded the Southwest Washington League of United Latin American Citizens. He said that as a county councilman, he will focus on identifying and implementing solutions to the homelessness crisis, protecting the county’s farmland, helping the county’s economically disadvantaged residents and climate change.

“I kind of figured I’d be second to start with,” he said.

Hinojosa said he’s optimistic he won’t lose ground as more election numbers come in this week.

“I feel pretty good about it. I was pretty confident I was going to get through the primary,” Hinojosa said.

District 2

According to Tuesday’s preliminary election returns, the top two candidates in the District 2 race are Michelle Belkot and Chartisha Roberts. Belkot got 5,152 votes, or 43.81 percent of the votes cast. Roberts received 4,086 votes, or 34.74 percent.

Kim Hamlik is in third place with 2,522 votes, or 21.5 percent.

A U.S. Navy veteran and working mother, Belkot is also focused on homelessness and public safety, but has also put transportation — especially the proposed Interstate 5 Bridge replacement — at the top of her list.

Belkot was unavailable for comment Tuesday.

For Roberts, also from Vancouver, the list of priorities is a little longer. In addition to those identified by her competitors, Roberts said the county needs better collaboration and leadership.

“I can breathe for a second,” Roberts said. “It’s very exciting … Everyone ran a good, decent campaign.”

Roberts said if the early results hold, she still has a long way to go in the general election.

District 5

According to Tuesday’s preliminary election returns, the top two candidates in the District 5 race are Sue Marshall and Don Benton. Marshall received 4,682 votes, or 32.93 percent of the votes cast. Benton received 3,745 votes, or 26.34 percent.

In third place comes Rick Torres with 3,597 votes, or 25.30 percent. Current District 5 councilor Rylander has received the fewest votes so far with 2,196 votes or 15.44 percent.

As a rural Ridgefield rancher, it’s no surprise that Marshall has made land use among his top priorities. Marshall became involved in how the council operates during the last update of the comprehensive plan and decided now was the time to run.

“I’m happy. You work really hard, so today there was nothing I could do but wait,” Marshall said.

Marshall said she hopes her lead in the election will continue as more ballots are counted in the coming days. However, she wasn’t really surprised by the results.

“I thought I had a chance at it because we’ve been in the community for so long because we’re farmers. I think there is an inherent trust among the rural population, in people with that kind of background.”

Marshall said concerns specific to rural areas, such as surface mining and the development projects on 179th Street, are the same concerns she has.

Benton, a former state senator and representative of the 17th Legislative District, is perhaps the best known of the candidates. Benton said he chose to run because “the council seems to need some leadership skills. I believe I can provide that.”

Benton did not return calls for comment Tuesday night.

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