Challenger Bridget Bailey squeaked ahead of incumbent Wasco County Commissioner Rod Runyon in primary election results Tuesday but the two will face off in November for the Position 3 seat.
Chuck Langley was edged out of the race with 406 votes to Bailey’s 2,054 and Runyon’s 2,026 in final unofficial election results. Because neither candidate took at least 50 percent of total votes cast, the race goes on to the next election.
Bailey said of the results: “I’m honored that more than 2,000 people trusted me to serve as their county commissioner. I’m looking forward to meeting more people during the next six months and serving the people of Wasco County next year.”
“I am very grateful for everyone who came out to support me,” said Runyon. “I expected a runoff with three people in the race and that’s what happened so I’m ready to go forward.”
Incumbent Scott Hege secured his seat for another four years, capturing 2,780 votes, slightly more than 64 percent, to challenger Nora Ferguson’s 1,532, or 35.29 percent.
The overall voter turnout rate was low at 37.8 percent, or 4,787 votes, and there were no surprises with Wasco County’s results in state and federal races:
• U.S. Rep. Greg Walden defeated Republican challenger Dennis Linthicum by taking 84 percent of the votes cast, 1,696 to 323. On the Democrat side of the ticket, Aelea Christofferson scored first place with 57.49 percent, or 714 votes. Opponent Barney Spera received 268 votes to the 200 given to Charles “Frank” Vulliet.
• U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley defeated three Democratic opponents with 88.73 percent of the vote, or 1,519 ballots marked in his favor. Pavel Goberman got 63 votes and 99 went to William Bryk. Republican challenger Monica Wehby captured 54.38 percent, or 1,025 votes, from her party and Jason Conger came in second with 632 votes, or 33.53 percent. Mark Callahan netted 121 votes, followed by Joe Rae Perkins with 52 and Timothy Crawley with that same number.
• Oregon Rep. John Huffman overpowered fellow Republican Britt Storkson by a 90.42 percent margin to secure his position for another two years, winning 1,539 votes to 159. Huffman has no Democrat challenger.
• Gov. John Kitzhaber scored support from Democrats in Wasco County by a 81.21 margin, netting 1,426 votes to challenger Ifeanyichukwu Diru’s 292, or 16.63 percent. On the Republican side, Dennis Richardson got a little more than 65 percent of the vote with 1,102 ballots marked in his favor. Second place went to Mae Rafferty with 148 votes, followed by Gordon Challstrom with 158, Bruce Cuff with 145, Tim Carr with 108 and Darren Karr with 19.
Primary election results will be certified Monday, June 9, according to Wasco County Clerk Linda Brown.
Primary elections in Sherman County saw a 42.3 percent voter turnout according to county final unofficial reports on May 20, with a total of 483 ballots counted.
Most of Sherman County’s results paralleled the state’s.
For the Oregon governor’s race, Sherman County aligned with the rest of the state supporting John Kitzhaber and Dennis Richardson for the November ballot. Kitzhaber received 74 votes for a 68 percent majority in the Democratic race while Richardson emerged with 193 for 73 percent of the Republican vote.
For United States Senator, Sherman County supported Republican candidate Monica Wehby with 193 votes. She will be up against Democratic incumbent Jeff Merkley who received 100 votes.
Republican Greg Walden received a whopping 271 votes for an 87 percent majority over his opponents in the race for Congress, while Democratic frontrunner Aelea Christofferson got only 49.
Republican state Rep. Greg Smith ran unopposed and will continue his tenure, while County Commissioner Tom McCoy also ran unopposed.
Victoria Osborne also contributed this report.