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Grant, Grove secure retention with no opponents on ballot

by: SPOTLIGHT FILE PHOTO - Jean Marie MartwickNo candidate won a majority of the vote in the only Columbia County Circuit Court race in the Tuesday, May 20, election in which more than one person qualified for the ballot, meaning Judge Jean Marie Martwick and attorney Cathleen Callahan will face off in the November general election

Unofficial election results posted at 3:39 a.m. Wednesday by the Columbia County Elections Department gave Martwick a slim lead over Callahan, with neither candidate reaching 40 percent of the overall vote.

Martwick won 37.7 percent of the vote, while Callahan won 36.4 percent, according to the county’s vote tally.

If no candidate wins more than a majority of the vote in a nonpartisan primary election, the top two vote-getters advance to the general election in November, under Oregon elections law.

“I am so thankful to all my supporters and the voters,” Martwick said in a statement released to the Spotlight Wednesday afternoon. “They are the people who recognize me as the most qualified and experienced.”

Callahan said she is “really happy and excited” to be continuing on with the race.

“I don’t think that we expected anything less than a close race, and that’s what we got,” said Callahan.

The third candidate in the race, attorney Jason Heym, trailed with 24.7 percent of the vote. He will not proceed to the general election.

“We didn’t win. Thank you so much for your support,” Heym wrote in a Facebook post to supporters early Wednesday, adding, “We’ve had a great time meeting and making new friends. We gave it our best and now have new experiences to tell everyone about.”

Heym did not endorse either of his rivals in the post.

Callahan declined to comment on Heym when asked, while Martwick said he “has some good ideas” in her statement.

by: SPOTLIGHT FILE PHOTO - Cathleen CallahanMartwick was appointed to fill a vacancy left by the retirement of Judge Steven B. Reed last fall by Gov. John Kitzhaber, a Democrat. She was challenged in her first bid for a full term of office by Callahan, a Goble resident who has a law office in St. Helens, and Heym, who lives in the Scappoose area and works as a divorce attorney in Portland.

Circuit Court Judges Ted E. Grove and Jenefer S. Grant, facing no opposition on the ballot, cruised to retention, despite a quixotic write-in challenge to Grant by St. Helens-based attorney Agnes Petersen, who was ruled ineligible for the ballot because she is older than the mandatory retirement age for circuit court judges of 75 years old.

Grant won 79.7 percent of the vote, with the remainder of ballots cast in the race marked as write-ins, according to the county website.

Terms for circuit court judges in Oregon are six years long.

Editor's note: This story has been updated.

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