Greg Barreto of Cove defeated John Turner of Pendleton in a landslide Tuesday night to get the Republican nomination in the race for House District 58.
Barreto now will face Democrat Heidi Van Schoonhoven, also of Cove, in the November general election.
Barreto, owner of a manufacturing company, celebrated the win with family and friends in Cove. He said his pro-business message was the balm voters were looking for.
"I came out talking about the need for jobs and for Oregon to be a business friendly state," he said. "I still feel like that's what we need, and being in the private sector had a lot to do with that."
Barreto won 79.5 percent of the unofficial vote in Wallowa County and he was just shy of 83 percent of the vote in Union County. Turner had a one-vote lead in Umatilla County in the unofficial results, 1,287-1,286.
Turner was hosting friends and family at his home in Pendleton when he conceded the race at about 8:30 p.m. He told the crowd of 40 or so that Barreto had too wide a margin to hold out hope of making up votes.
Turner, former president of Blue Mountain Community College and a retired Marine colonel, aimed to bring that public service experience to bear in the district. Barreto and his supporters, though, criticized Turner for being a proponent of big government based on his background.
Turner said those and Barreto's other relentless attacks, the geography of the district and stories about union contributions to his campaign contributed to Barreto's win.
"His message resonated with the voters," Turner said.
Barreto said the Pendleton area was tough to gain traction in, and negative stories about his campaign did not help, but pulling 50 percent of the vote in Umatilla County was significant.
Barreto said he would take a few days off before deciding how he would campaign in November's general election. Republicans outnumber Democrats heavily in the district, so Barreto should have a easy win in November.
Whoever wins will succeed Rep. Bob Jenson of Pendleton, the longest-serving member of the Oregon House and a moderate Republican.
Van Schoonhoven ran unopposed.
Contact Phil Wright at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-966-0833.
This story originally appeared in East Oregonian.