Three candidates each capture more than 50 percent of vote
While the results remain unofficial, three people were clear winners in the Jefferson County primary race May 15, which decided the four-way race for clerk and two contested positions on the Jefferson County Commission.
For the position of Jefferson County clerk, Kate Zemke, 59, the chief deputy clerk for the past 17 years, received about 54.1 percent of the ballots cast (2,300 votes), which means she will be the sole name on the ballot for clerk in Nov. 6 general election.
"I was pleased, happy, surprised and relieved," said Zemke. "I just really didn't know how it was going to go."
Now that the election is over, she said, County Clerk Kathy Marston "feels free to work with me and train me."
"We've been talking about some classes that will enhance my abilities to do a good job," said Zemke. "I'm hoping I can do a great job and work for another eight years."
Of the other three candidates, Charity Dubisar collected the most votes (1,205), with about 28.4 percent of the vote, Brian Crow, about 11.9 percent (505), and Yoonsun Reynolds, about 5.6 percent (236).
If no one had received more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two vote-getters would have moved on to the November election, but because Zemke surpassed the 50-percent mark, she will be the only candidate for the position in November.
Jefferson County Commissioner Mae Huston, who was challenged by Kim Schmith for position 1 on the commission, received about 57.5 percent of the vote (2,463 votes). Schmith received about 42.2 percent of the vote (1,811). By receiving more than 50 percent of the vote, Huston avoided a runoff in the November election.
Huston said that she was very pleased with the results of the election. "I posted on my Facebook I'm tickled pink that I'll get to continue working for the people of Jefferson County," she said. "I think there's still more to learn. I've worked very hard for the last four years, so I was very hopeful."
Kelly Simmelink was the big winner for position 2 on the County Commission, currently held by Mike Ahern, who did not run for re-election.
Simmelink received about 61.2 percent of the vote (2,600 votes), while Courtney Snead collected about 29.4 percent (1,248), and Mary Kendall, about 9.3 percent of the vote for the nonpartisan position (396).
"I'm super excited and ready to get to work," said Simmelink, who was hopeful, and optimistic that he would win.
"I thoroughly enjoyed the process," he said. "I know so many people, but it became a different level of communicating, taking business out of it and focusing on the issues here in the county that wouldn't come up in normal daily conversation."
"I think the future of our county is tremendous," said Simmelink. "I think it's time for a lot of good things."
Because he received more than 50 percent of the vote, Simmelink will be elected through the primary election, and take office in January 2019, when he and Huston are sworn in.
"I'm looking forward to working with Kelly," said Huston. "I think his interest in working on economic development is good."
Also on the ballot was special road district for the Canyon View subdivision southeast of Madras. The measure passed by a vote of 58 yes to 51 no — 53.2 percent to 46.8 percent.
On the national ballot, seven Democrats were vying for the opportunity to oppose U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, a Republican, in the November election.
Jefferson County followed the statewide returns, giving Jamie McLeod-Skinner, of Crooked River Ranch, a slight edge over the other six Democratic candidates with 28.8 percent of the vote (326). Statewide, she received about 40.5 percent of the vote.
In Jefferson County, other Democratic candidates and their approximate percentages were: Jennifer "Jenni" Neahring, 27.2 percent (308); Jim Crary, 19.2 percent (217); Tim White, 8.2 percent (93); Raz Mason, 6.1 percent (69); Eric Burnette, 5.2 percent (59); and Michael Byrne, 3.6 percent (41).
Percentages were different statewide, but candidates remained in the same order, from highest percentage to lowest.
In November, McLeod-Skinner will face Walden, who easily beat two Republican challengers for his seat, garnering about 75.7 percent of the vote (1,798 votes).
In Jefferson County, Republican challenger Paul Romero Jr. received about 16.3 percent of the vote (387), and Randy Pollock, 7.8 percent (185).
Jefferson County had a low turnout for the election, with only 34.4 percent of voters returning their ballots. However, the county still exceeded the statewide turnout of 33.6 percent by a small percentage.