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Primary election in home stretch

Turnout may be low across state
By Edward Stratton

The Daily Astorian

Published on May 15, 2018 9:43AM

Last changed on May 15, 2018 10:46AM

Elections technician Sheryl Holcom runs a test on equipment that will count ballots.

Colin Murphey/The Daily Astorian

Elections technician Sheryl Holcom runs a test on equipment that will count ballots.

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Just 26 percent of registered voters in Clatsop County had turned in ballots Monday for the primary election, higher than the statewide mark but foreshadowing the potential for low voter turnout across Oregon.

Ballots are due by 8 p.m. tonight.

As of Monday morning, about 18.6 percent of ballots were returned across the state. That’s a low compared to recent years, according to the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office.

In previous midterm election years, a higher share of voters turned out by the day before the primary.

In 2014, 24.9 percent of voters had cast a ballot by the day before the election; in 2010, 28 percent; in 2006, 27 percent; and in 2002, 32 percent.

In Clatsop County, the election features a three-way Democratic race to replace retiring state Rep. Deborah Boone, D-Cannon Beach. Democratic voters outnumber Republicans and have long dominated House District 32.

Tim Josi, a Tillamook County commissioner and former state representative, is running against Tiffiny Mitchell, a state child welfare worker, and John Orr, a lawyer and project manager for Trails End Recovery.

Teacher Vineeta Lower is the lone Republican candidate in the state House race, and progressive activist Brian Halvorsen the only Independent.

Three seats on the Clatsop County Board of Commissioners are also up for grabs, including two open races with no incumbent.

In District 1, Mark Kujala — former Warrenton mayor and owner of Skipanon Brand Seafoods — is running against state health care data analyst Andy Davis and former attorney George McCartin. The winner will replace Scott Lee, the commission chairman, who opted not to run for re-election.

District 3 features land use planner Pamela Wev running against Peter Roscoe and Doug Thompson, both former Astoria city councilors. The three are vying to replace Clemente’s restaurant co-owner Lisa Clement, who also opted not to run for re-election.

In District 5, Commissioner Lianne Thompson is taking on Jewell farmer Susana Gladwin.

U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici is a heavy favorite in the 1st Congressional District, where she has served since 2012. In the Democratic primary, she is running against political newcomers Ricky Barajas, a student and dental office manager, and Michael Stansfield, a quality control engineer and author who works for a security company.

Three Republicans are vying to face Bonamici in November, including George Griffith, a mechanical design engineer; John Verbeek, a financial adviser who has previously run for the state Legislature and metro regional government in Portland; and Preston Miller, an Army veteran studying at Portland State University.

The election also features four bond measures to fund operations for the Warrenton Police Department, Clatsop Care Health District, and the Lewis and Clark and Clatskanie rural fire protection districts.

Claire Withycombe contributed from the Capital Bureau in Salem.


Ballot drop

Voters can drop off ballots by 8 p.m. outside the county offices at 820 Exchange St.; Cannon Beach City Hall at 163 E. Gower Ave.; Gearhart City Hall at 698 Pacific Way; Seaside City Hall at 989 Broadway; Warrenton City Hall at 225 S. Main Ave.; Knappa High School at 41535 Old U.S. Highway 30; Mist-Birkenfeld Fire Hall at 12525 Oregon Highway 202; and Clatskanie Library at 11 Lillich St.


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