Walsh Gets Challenger, Commissioner Race Has Four Candidates and Three PUD Commissioner Candidates Line Up as Filing Week Continues


With just two more days for candidates to file for local, county and state elected positions, matchups began forming Tuesday and Wednesday as state Rep. Jim Walsh, R-Aberdeen, picked up a Democratic challenger, three candidates filed for a position on the Lewis County Public Utility District commission and four candidates jumped into the Lewis County commissioner race.

Candidates have until 4 p.m. Friday to file for a broad range of positions.

As of Tuesday, three candidates — Mike Hadaller, Tim Cournyer and Kevin Emerson — had filed for PUD Commissioner Position No. 3. Hadaller said he is running for the position because he feels that as a business owner, he can help tighten the department’s budget.

“There’s a lot of stuff I don’t like about the PUD,” said the lifelong Lewis County resident. “I was approached by a few ex-PUD people who told me what’s really going on.”

Hadaller pointed to what he perceives to be the PUD’s “closed door policy,” noting other counties provide more transparency. He also argued larger companies moving into Lewis County should have to pay for their own power upgrades.

“If you’re going to move in here, wouldn’t you feel they should pay for their own power upgrade? It’s not our job to pay for them,” he told The Chronicle.

Cournyer had not yet responded with answers to questions as of The Chronicle’s Wednesday deadline while Emerson did not yet have contact information posted on the Lewis County Auditor’s Office website.

Republican Scott Brummer was the first candidate to file for Lewis County commissioner in District 3 early in the week. As of Wednesday afternoon, he’s been joined by fellow Republicans Jodery “Jody” Goble, of Toledo, and Pat Saldana, of Morton, in addition to Randle resident Pete D. Krabbe, who listed his party as “stop the steal.”

In races with three or more candidates, the top two in the August primary will move on to the general election.

At the county level, Onalaska’s Harry O. Baghwandin, a Republican, became the first candidate in the race for Lewis County assessor, with longtime incumbent Dianne Dorey yet to file. The only other contested county level race as of Wednesday was for sheriff, with incumbent Rob Snaza and challenger Tracy Murphy — both Republicans — filing early in the week.

Auditor Larry Grove, Clerk Scott Tinney, Coroner Warren McLeod, Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer and Treasurer Arny Davis were the only candidates in their respective races as of Wednesday.

For the state Legislature, incumbent Reps. Ed Orcutt, R-Kalama, Peter Abbarno, R-Centralia, and Joel McEntire, R-Cathlamet, are so far running unopposed for re-election. Meanwhile, Walsh is being challenged by Ilwaco-based Democrat Kelli Hughes Ham.

Hughes Ham, a Democrat and public school educator, told The Chronicle, “I have chosen to run against Jim Walsh because, as a public school educator, I don’t like the fact that someone who makes poor decisions sits on the House Education Committee. He does not represent my values or those of the people of my community.”

The Democratic challenger said she chose to run against Walsh rather than against Walsh’s Republican House colleague for the 19th District, Joel McEntire, because of education.

“The fact that (Walsh) sits on the House Education Committee … I’m not sure why he sits on that committee when he has no experience in education,” Hughes Ham said.

Hughes Ham added that she thought Walsh “makes pretty bad decisions.”

“I might reference the Star of David thing last year … I think that represents really bad decision making and is really inappropriate,” she said, noting Walsh’s use of the symbol — which he later apologized for — at a protest against vaccine mandates. 

Hughes Ham said she has experience serving as a precinct committee officer (PCO), though she said she was disappointed in what she saw.

“I've been a PCO since I think 2013. I used to attend meetings pretty regularly. I haven't attended meetings lately because of the pandemic. But also I didn’t see a lot of change going on like with reaching out to younger voters,” the challenger said. “Pacific County used to be a really union area, with strong working class values.”

Hughes Ham said in order to bring about the change she thinks is needed, she didn’t want to limit her efforts to the local level.

I’ve been working for systemic change at the local level and I’m just seeing that that’s just not possible, especially in education … The next step is to run at the state level and what better way than to do that than by running against someone who is against public education?” Hughes Ham said.

In the 3rd Congressional District, Republican incumbent Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, is being challenged by Republicans Joe Kent, Heidi St. John, Vicki Kraft and recent arrival Leslie L. French. Herrera Beutler is also receiving challenges from across the aisle as she faces Brent Hennrich and new entry Davy Ray. Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez has also declared her candidacy but had not filed her paperwork as of Wednesday morning.

Earlier this month, Lewis County’s auditor’s office strongly urged candidates to use the office’s online filing system to file, which is “very simple and can be completed in just a few minutes,” according to Terry Jouper, elections supervisor.

Candidates who attend the office in person for filing will be required to use the same online system.

Online filing will close at 4 p.m. on May 20. In-person filing will be held from 8 a.m. on to 4:30 p.m. during the week. To file online, go to https://elections.lewiscountywa.gov and select “Online Candidate Filing.” Candidates who choose to file electronically may pay their filing fees online by credit card.

Mail-in declarations of candidacy must also be submitted by May 20.

For mail-ins, the declaration of candidacy form must be complete, the oath signed and any filing fee included.

Declaration forms are available on the elections website at https://elections.lewiscountywa.gov under the “Candidate Information’’ tab on the left.

Candidates wishing to withdraw must do so by Monday, May 23. Forms can be filed electronically, by mail or in person and must be received no later than 4:30 p.m. Filing fees are not refundable. Withdrawal forms are available on the elections website under the “Forms” tab on the left or in person at the auditor’s office.

If no individual files for specific positions, those positions will have a special three-day filing period at the auditor’s office from May 25 to May 27. If no candidate files for an office during the special filing period, the office shall be lapsed and deemed stricken from the ballot with no write-in votes counted and no candidate certified as elected. There is no three-day special filing period for PCO positions.

To see which offices are open for election or candidates who have filed, go to the elections website under “Candidate Information,” select “2022 Offices Open for Election” to see offices, incumbents and filing fees. Select “Candidates Who Have Filed” to view up-to-date candidate filings.

To view an updated list of candidates and the races they have filed for, visit https://voter.votewa.gov/CandidateList.aspx?e=876&c=21.


Look for full stories on all local races in The Chronicle between now and the August primary.