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One backs out of sheriff's race, pushing that decision to the November election

Nine people met the March 6 filing deadline to run for two Columbia County commissioner positions in the May 15 election, making it one of the more crowded races in recent memory. Ballots will be mailed on April 27.

Five candidates will vie for position 1, which Earl Fisher currently holds. Four came out to contest incumbent Tony Hyde for position 3.

Columbia County elections official Pam Benham, who has held the office for a decade and worked for the county since 1976, said it's the most candidates for county commissioner she can recollect.

'I think I would recall if there had been [a more populated race],' she said.

This is also the first nonpartisan race for the county commissioner seats, a change initiated by the current commission and approved in the 2010 general election.

On the other side of the coin, the trio running for Columbia County Sheriff was knocked down to a duo when Scappoose police officer Anthony Miltich withdrew his candidacy. As an effect, the sheriff's race will now be decided in November and not May; such is the case when two or fewer candidates compete for a county position, Benham said. Incumbent Sheriff Jeff Dickerson, of St. Helens, and Scappoose challenger Dave Fuller, a sheriff's deputy, will square off in the fall.

Both positions - Columbia County commissioner and sheriff - are compensated. A commissioner in fiscal year 2012 made $69,290 and the sheriff earned $84,688, according to county budget documents.

Here's a quick rundown on who's running and a brief outline based on their candidacy filing. Check back regularly for more election reporting in The Spotlight as Election Day nears.

Columbia County Board of Commissioners

Position 1

Incumbent Earl Fisher, of Clatskanie, was elected to the Board of Commissioners in 2008 after defeating incumbent Democrat Joe Corsiglia in the primary and going forward to beat Republican Glenn Dorschler in the general election. Fisher previously worked as the Clatskanie School District's superintendent. He has a master's degree in education from Michigan State University.

Colleen Marie DeShazer, of Warren, worked in operations and compliance for Rainier Rock Products and at Advantage Trucking and Excavation, LLC in Kelso, Wash. She is working on a bachelor's degree from Warner Pacific College in business, with an anticipated graduation in May. She also obtained a certificate from ITT Tech. DeShazer has held a position on the Port of St. Helens from 1998 to present.

Terry Luttrell, of St. Helens, is a pastor. He attended Oregon State University, no degree cited, though he received his bachelor's degree from Berean University. He was elected to the Port of St. Helens Commission in 2006, and lost a bid for Columbia County commissioner in the 2010 race against Henry Heimuller.

Wayne Mayo, of Scappoose, is a homebuilder and property manager. He studied economics at Portland State University, though no degree was indicated. He spent four years on the Scappoose Planning Commission and three years on the St. Helens Parks and Recreation Committee.

Brady Preheim, of St. Helens, is a computer consultant who owns and operates Preheim Computers in Scappoose. He references classwork at Oregon State University, no degree cited, and lists prior government experience with the St. Helens Urban Renewal Team.

Position 3

Tony Hyde, of Vernonia, is a former logger who was elected as a Columbia County commissioner in 1997, a position he still holds. He spent three years at the University of Iowa and previously attended Kirkwood Community College. His prior government experience includes service on the Vernonia City Council, as mayor of Vernonia and with a position on the State Economic and Community Development Commission, among others.

Jim Gibson, of Clatkskanie, is the retired commander for the Columbia County Jail. Gibson has law enforcement credits from several learning institutions, including Chemeketa Community College, Portland Community College and the state Department of Public Safety Standards and Training. No prior government experience listed.

Tammy Maygra, of Deer Island, lists herself as retired from several trades, including millworker, seamstress and shipyard laborer. She also adds 'community activist' to her titles. She is a St. Helens High School graduate, and has served as the chair for the Columbia Health District, on the Democratic Central Committee and the Tide Creek and St. Helens CPACs.

Reginald Griffin Ward, of Vernonia, is the owner of Ward's Mobile Shop in Vernonia. He served in the U.S. Navy and has an associate's degree in Applied Science from Portland Community College. No prior government experience listed.

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