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Judge, commissioner candidates to advance to general election

by: SPOTLIGHT FILE PHOTO - Cathleen Callahan.The results of the May 20 primary election in Columbia County are now official, the county’s top elections official said Wednesday, June 4.

Pam Benham, Columbia County elections supervisor, said the last of the ballots were tabulated Wednesday and the results will be certified Monday.

There are no surprises in the final vote count, which confirmed the uncertain outcome of the only Board of County Commissioners race on the ballot this year: Commissioner Henry Heimuller and challenger Wayne Mayo will advance to an improbable general election, despite there being no third candidate on the primary ballot.

Heimuller won 60 more votes than Mayo, with 5,360 votes to 5,300, but fell shy of winning an outright majority and avoiding a November runoff. Oregon law states that a nonpartisan candidate for office must win more than 50 percent of the vote to be elected at the primary, and Heimuller came in 0.14 percentage points short of the 50-percent mark.

“So we’ll be doing a runoff in the fall, it sounds like,” Heimuller said after being informed of the final results.

Heimuller said he trusted Benham’s tally and was not interested in a recount, echoing similar sentiments voiced by Mayo last week.

Mayo did not return a call requesting comment before the Spotlight’s press deadline Thursday.

by: SPOTLIGHT FILE PHOTO - Jean Marie Martwick.Another countywide race was not decided at the primary this year. Columbia County Circuit Court Judge Jean Marie Martwick, appointed last fall to a vacant seat on the bench by Gov. John Kitzhaber, won a plurality of 37.7 percent of the vote. But because she did not win a majority of the vote, she will face second-place finisher Cathleen Callahan, who won 36.4 percent in the three-way primary, in November.

County voters will also decide whether to reelect longtime County Clerk Betty Huser or give businessman Brady Preheim a four-year term in November. Under state law, no primary is held in county clerk elections.

The final tally also affirmed the passage of the Columbia County Jail operating levy, with 51.3 percent of voters in favor, and the failure of the Columbia River Fire & Rescue general obligation bond, which 50.3 percent voted against. The controversial levy and bond were the only money measures on county ballots this spring.

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