In Hillsboro council race, progressive candidates take easy wins
When the results of the three Hillsboro City Council races were released Tuesday night, Nov. 6, there wasn't any cheering from the winning candidates. There were no celebratory speeches or confetti.
Instead, the three winners were sitting in a quiet Hillsboro City Council meeting, listening to discussions of zone changes and the second reading of a tree care ordinance.
Incumbents Kyle Allen and Olivia Alcaire easy retained their seats on the Hillsboro City Council Tuesday night. A third candidate, nonprofit executive Beach Pace, will join the council in January, taking the seat of outgoing council president Darrel Lumaco.
Pace, a member of the city's planning commission, was sitting in the audience Tuesday night watching the council meeting, as she has every meeting since announcing her intention to run for office.
"I am so effing excited," Pace told Pamplin Media Group Tuesday night, stepping out of the meeting to take a call from reporters.
Unofficial results show Pace with more than 67 percent of the vote, with about 18,265 votes. Her opponent Eric Muehter received 31 percent of Tuesday's vote, or about 8,599 votes.
Pace announced her plans to run for city council in 2017. After more than a year on the campaign trail, Pace was elected by a more than two-to-one margin.
"From house parties to community events to forums and canvassing, I have learned so much about Hillsboro and have gained an understanding of what's most important to our community," Pace said.
Pace plans to focus on addressing homelessness, transportation, supporting local businesses and the environment and education on the council, she said.
Ward 1, Position A
Hillsboro City Council
On paper, the two candidates were very similar. Both live in the same neighborhood in Jackson School — Muehter serves as president of their home owner's association — and both served in the U.S. military. Pace commanded an Army bomb squad and Muehter served as a hospital corpsman in the Navy. But the two differed greatly on issues of campaign finance. Pace's campaign raised more than $16,000, while Muehter refused to accept any donations.
Muehter was critical of Pace's fundraising, saying it shouldn't take thousands of dollars to win a local election.
Pace, the chief executive officer of Big Brothers Big Sisters Columbia Northwest, said the donations showed that candidates supported her vision for the council.
"More than 13,000 (people) turned out for me and I think that speaks volumes to what kind of candidate they wanted and the values they had," Pace said Tuesday. "I am honored that they chose me."
Pace joins a liberal majority on the Hillsboro City Council. The council is officially nonpartisan, but progressive candidates have swept into office in Hillsboro government over the last few elections. The council has brought about a series of changes, including the city's sanctuary vote last year and plans to provide high-speed Internet city-wide as a utility.
Two other progressive candidates also retained their seats Tuesday. Alcaire, who was appointed to the council last year, ran unopposed, and secured an easy victory with 97 percent of Tuesday's vote. Allen also cruised through election night, winning against two first-time political opponents.
Unofficial results show Allen claimed 67 percent of Tuesday's vote — or about 18,097 votes — followed by John Shepherd, who claimed 22 percent (6,187 votes) and William Joseph Fields, who received 9 percent, or about 2,600 votes.
"I'm overwhelmed by the support and I'm thankful for the opportunity to continue this work," Allen told Pamplin Media Group on Wednesday. "The outpouring of encouragement for this campaign was humbling and I'm thrilled with the results."
Allen, who works at Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center in Cornelius, said he plans to focus on issues of affordable housing and walkability.
Allen and Pace were both endorsed by every sitting member of the Hillsboro City Council and the Hillsboro School Board, where Allen's wife serves as a chairwoman.
In a statement to Pamplin Media Group, Shepherd, a technical writer, congratulated Allen on his re-election win.
"May our taxes remain low under his watchful care, our city continue to flourish, and our collective sense of civic responsibility continue to shine," Shepherd wrote.
Fields ran a campaign focused largely on national conservative issues, including repealing the Hillsboro and Oregon's sanctuary status and cutting taxes and business regulations in Hillsboro. Fields said the votes he received have encouraged him to continue working in politics.
"This gives me four more years to stack up those relationships, and put my name in the running, likely for a congressional or senatorial position next time," Fields wrote on Facebook.
Ward 2, Position A
Hillsboro City Council
|William Joseph Fields|
Ward 3, Position A
Hillsboro City Council
By Geoff Pursinger
Editor, Hillsboro Tribune
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