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Two Clackamas County races headed to runoffs

Surprising strength for Schrader over anti-Metro candidates

While former Commissioner Martha Schrader celebrated a stunning primary victory last week to regain her previous seat, two other Clackamas County races geared up for six more months of tough campaigning to get more than 50 percent of the vote in the November general election.

The races will pit candidates opposed to Metro-style land-use planning policies against those who support more regional efforts for public transportation.

In the race for Clackamas County's position, outspoken anti-light-rail challenger and former Wilsonville Mayor John Ludlow, garnering 28.7 percent of the vote, will run off against current Chairwoman Charlotte Lehan, who trailed by a mere 2-percent margin in unofficial results. Commissioner Paul Savas got 24.4 percent, with former Oregon House Speaker Dave Hunt coming in fourth at 20.1 percent.

Only 35.7 percent of Clackamas County's 213,998 registered voters turned out to the election.

In the Position 4 race, Commissioner Jamie Damon barely led anti-light-rail activist and former State Rep. Tootie Smith by 36.2 to 35 percent. While wooing new voters that tend to form a larger turnout in the general election, they'll have to fight each other for the 16.8 percent of votes garnered by John Swanson, a Republican chief of staff, and former Oregon City Commissioner Dan Holladay's 11.7 percent.

Schrader's decisive victory was remarkable in part because county races were so closely divided on ideological issues. In the Position 3 race, she edged out anti-light-rail activist Jim Knapp by 51.9 to 30 percent, while Jeff Caton, who was also against light-rail projects, only got 17.9 percent of the vote.