Deschutes County District Attorney Patrick Flaherty, clearly hurt by costly battles in his tumultuous first term in office, was soundly defeated by challenger John Hummel in ballot counting finished early Wednesday, holding to a stunning 60 to 40 percent victory margin in the High Desert's hottest May primary race.
Updated results around 2:40 a.m. showed Hummel, a Bend defense attorney and former Bend city councilor, got 20,391 votes, 60 percent to 13,723, or 40 percent for Flaherty, who was hammered in debates and TV ads over the $1.3 million spent on settlements of lawsuits filed by prosecutors he dismissed upon taking the reins from Mike Dugan in 2011.
Nearly 37,000 ballots were tallied overall, for a voter turnout of just over 38 percent. Some ballots are likely to straggle in, returned in other counties, in coming days, but are unlikely to change those or other percentages.
Flaherty hammered on Hummel's lack of prosecutorial background and his own spendy problems (lemon transit buses, for example) during his time on the city council, but his slogan of "Justice Not Politics" appeared not to have made up for the bad ink Flaherty drew during his first two years in office that led to costly lawsuit settlements.
In the other big Deschutes County matchup of the primary, attorney Randy Miller handily defeated county prosecutor Thomas Spear in their bid for the circuit court judgeship being vacated by retiring Judge Barbara Haslinger. Miller, whose background is in civil law, had 17,271 votes, or 59 percent, to 9,677 votes, or 33 percent for Spear in the early Wednesday.
Deschutes County Commissioner Tony DeBone easily fended off a challenge by fellow Republican Richard Esterman. DeBone garnered 11,131 votes, or 81 percent, to 2,621 votes, or 19 percent, for Esterman. That means DeBone will move on to face a November general election challenge from Democrat Jodie Barram, a Bend city councilor who ran unopposed for that party's nomination.
The Bend Fire Department's first bid for its own tax levy in the department's 100-year history won easy approval in two separate measures. The five-year local option levy to boost staffing and cut response times passed 63 to 37 percent in the city (10,706 yes votes to 6,396 no) and closer but still passed in the rural fire district, 3,155 yes votes (58 percent) to 2,324 no votes (42 percent).
In Oregon's Second Congressional District, Rep. Greg Walden easily held off GOP challenger Dennis Linthicum, a Klamath County commissioner, 77 percent to 23 percent in the early tally. He will face Aelea Christofferson, who had about 63 percent of the Democratic votes in a three-way race take on Walden in the fall.
In Crook County, Commissioner Seth Crawford defeated fellow Republican challenger Jack Seley, a Prineville city councilor, 1,617 votes (61 percent) to 1,019 votes (39 percent) in final unofficial returns.
A measure to make the Crook County judge and commissioners' offices non-partisan passed by a wide martin, with 2,716 votes in favor (68 percent) to 1,280 votes (32 percent) opposed.
In Jefferson County, Commissioner Mike Ahern defeated challenger Floyd Pye, 62 to 38 percent. In the three-way race for departing Commissioner John Hatfield's seat, Mae Huston narrowly topped Tm Brown, 1393 votes (41 percent) to 1,284 votes (38 percent), with Mike Throop third with 673 votes (20 percent), meaning a fall runoff between Huston and Brown.
Lake Chinook Fire and Rescue's $660,000 bond measure for a new fire station was approved by five votes, 55-50.
We'll have a complete report on NewsChannel 21 at Five and Six.
Here are links to the latest results:
Oregon election results: http://www.oregonvotes.gov/results/2014P/1415319963.html Deschutes County election results: http://www.deschutes.org/Clerks-Office/Elections/Current-Election/Election-Results.aspx Crook County election results: http://co.crook.or.us/Departments/Clerk/ElectionInformation/CurrentElectionResults/tabid/2277/Default.aspx
Jefferson County election results (will open pdf file after first results are in): http://www.co.jefferson.or.us/CountyClerk/Elections/UpcomingElectionInformation/tabid/6015/language/en-US/Default.aspx