Unofficial returns from the Umatilla County Elections Office Tuesday night at 10 p.m. had voter turnout at 15,6934, or 35.21% of eligible voters, and shows two candidates rising to the top of the commissioner race.
Commissioner, Position 3
Dan Dorran of Hermiston led and HollyJo Beers of Milton-Freewater sat in second in a five-candidate race to replace outgoing Commissioner Bill Elfering on the county’s three-person board of commissioners. Regardless of final vote totals, the top two candidates will advance to a runoff in the November general election.
Dorran led with 38% of the vote and over 1,200 voters more than Beers, who was squarely in second with 27% of the vote.
Pat Maier of Hermiston was in the middle at 15% and trailed Beers by less than 500 votes, according to 10 p.m. results. Jonathan Lopez and Mark Gomolski, both of Hermiston, were in fourth and fifth respectively.
Senate District 29
Bill Hansell, R-Athena, won the 29th District State Senate Republican primary Tuesday night, easily defeating challenger Garison Lee Alger in the 29th District State Senate Republican primary, according to the Oregon Secretary of State's website.
Hansell took 91% of the votes cast as of 10 p.m., easily outdistancing Alger, who has received just 9.2%. The lone Democrat in the Democratic primary for the seat, Mildred A. O'Callaghan, will face Hansell in November.
Hansell is in his eighth year as a senator for District 29, which includes Umatilla, Morrow, Wallowa, Union, Gilliam, Sherman and half of Wasco counties. Hansell served for 30 years as a Umatilla County commissioner.
Alger, a Pendleton carpenter, filed Feb. 5 to run in the Republican primary. According to his filing paperwork, Alger is a Pendleton High School graduate with experience in construction, flooring, metal fabrication and customer service.
Greg Smith, state representative for District 57, was running unopposed, with 99% of the vote. Roland Ruhe ran unopposed in the Democratic primary and will face Smith in November.
Congressional District 2
Former Sen. Cliff Bentz of Ontario won the Republican nomination for the 2nd Congressional District in Oregon on Tuesday.
Former Rep. Knute Buehler of Bend called Bentz just before 9:30 p.m. to concede the race. Former Sen. Jason Atkinson of Central Point was running third. Jimmy Crumpacker, a recent transplant to Deschutes County who spent over $600,000 and was endorsed by anti-abortion and gun rights groups was running fourth. None of the other seven candidates on the Republican ballot had more than 10 percent of the vote.
Alex Spenser of Klamath Falls and Nick Heuertz of Central Point were ahead in the field of five Democrats vying for the seat.
Bentz thanked the voters of the district, who he said looked past the large amounts of advertising by Buehler and Crumpacker to give him the win.
"I think people in this congressional district are smart and they study the candidates before they vote," Bentz said. "Jimmy is a nice guy, but he doesn't really live in the district. He's a Portland guy with a ski cabin in Bend. Good on him for trying, but he has to know the district before running for Congress.
"Knute ran as a moderate two years ago when he was running for governor, then tried to run as a conservative for Congress. People remember. Knute is a good physician, but politically, he just doesn't fit this district."
The race drew 11 Republicans to replace Rep. Greg Walden, R-Hood River, who announced last fall that he would retire after 22 years in Congress.
Measure 30-140: Echo Fire District Bond
With just 282 total votes, the measure to impose an estimated tax rate of $0.375 per $1,000 assessed value and raise $62,625 per year for the Echo Fire District passed at 59.6%.
The funds raised would pay for a 10-year general obligation bond to purchase fire fighting equipment and add a bay to the existing fire station on West Main Street in Echo.
In Morrow County, Commissioner Jim Doherty held on to a narrow lead early Tuesday with 41% of the vote against challenger Joel Peterson, with 38%.
Glen Diehl was winning the Justice Court Judge seat with 42.5% of the vote, and Sabrina Bailey Cave was winning the treasurers' race with 30.4%.
The City of Boardman's water and sewer bond was passing by a large margin, with 64.3% of voters in favor.
Staff writer Alex Castle, East Oregonian editor Andrew Cutler and Gary Warner of the Oregon Capital Bureau contributed to this report.