Local candidates can file the paperwork needed to appear on the 2023 primary or general election ballots beginning Monday, May 15, as filing week kicks off in Washington.

City council positions, as well as port, hospital, water, fire, and parks and recreation district offices, are up for election in Walla Walla and Columbia counties.

The candidate filing period opens Monday morning and closes at 4 p.m. Friday, May 19.

The primary is Aug. 1, with mail-in voting starting in July.

Candidates can file online with the Secretary of State’s Office or in person at the Walla Walla County Elections Department, 315 W. Main St. Room 203, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. throughout the week.

In Columbia County, candidates can file in person at 241 E. Main St. Suite 3 in Dayton between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. daily except on Friday, when the filing period closes at 4 p.m.

Filing fees, set for some but not all offices, are nonrefundable and must be paid before an electronic filing will be considered complete.

Candidates who wish to withdraw from the ballot must do so by 4 p.m. Monday, May 22.

Here’s an overview of the local offices that are up for election in 2023. For a full list, visit the Walla Walla and Columbia county election websites. 

Walla Walla County

Walla Walla City Council positions held by Ted Koehler in the East Ward, Susan Nakonieczny in the West Ward and Tom Scribner and Steve Moss in at-large positions are up for election in 2023.

In College Place, council positions held by Paul Jessup, Loren Peterson, Melodie Williams, Heather Schermann and Monica Boyle are up for election.

City Council positions held by Courtney Ruppenthall and Jillian Henze in Waitsburg and mayor and city council positions held by Brent Jay Potts, Jason Norris, Douglas Venn, Kathleen Oliver and Nathan Steuckle in Prescott are also up for election.

The offices have four-year terms except for the seats held by Jessup, Potts and Norris, which are up for election for two years to complete unexpired terms.

Port of Walla Walla Commissioner District 2, an office currently held by Mike Frederickson, is also on the ballot this year. The term length for Port commissioners is six years.

Other offices up for election in Walla Walla County include school district offices for Walla Walla, College Place, Columbia, Dixie, Prescott, Touchet and Waisburg schools; and public offices for fire, water, cemetery, hospital and parks and recreation districts in the county.

Columbia County

Columbia County’s auditor seat is the only county office up for election in 2023. The office will appear on the ballot for an unexpired three-year term.

Will Hutchens was appointed to the office in March after the seat was left vacant in 2023.

Port of Columbia’s District 2 seat held by Maria Eugenia Crowe will appear on the ballot with a six-year term.

Dayton positions for mayor and the city council held by Zac Weatherford, James Sueuga, Dain Nysoe, Shannon McMillen and Kyle Anderson are up for election. McMillen’s seat is up for an unexpired two-year term, while the others are four-year terms.

Other offices up for election in Columbia County include school district offices in Dayton and commissioner seats in the fire and hospital districts.

Kate Smith can be reached at katesmith@wwub.com or 509-577-7709. 

Kate Smith is the government reporter for the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin. She is passionate about connecting people to policy in storytelling that is thorough, fair and compassionate. She follows local elections, budgets, policy decisions and more affecting residents throughout the Walla Walla Valley, southeast Washington and northeast Oregon. She previously reported on city government, health, housing and more in Yakima. 

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