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Election results 2020: New mayor in Culver, Austin Throop joins Madras City Council

TONY AHERN/MADRAS PIONEER
 - This patriotic planter, located along Quaale Road north of Madras, was a sight to behold on Sunday morning, and certainly puts forth an important, powerful message of unity following a rough and tumble political season.  The first snow of the season helped make the planter even more striking.

Of the 16,090 registered voters in Jefferson County, 11,813 made their voices heard Tuesday, Nov. 3, with turnout at 73.42%.

According to unofficial results, Jefferson County Board of Commissioner Wayne Fording has retained his seat, defeating challenger Kim Schmith with 57.52% of the votes, compared with Schmith's 41.99%, or 5,963-4,353.

Schmith had the highest number of votes in a three-way race in May that included Kenny Bicart. Fording and Schmith advanced to the general election. Of 11,813 ballots received, 10,366 voted in the commissioners' race.

Fording said he will "continue to support county staff, department heads and elected officials to deliver and improve services for all of our citizens. I will continue to build our relationships at the local, regional, state and federal level to leverage opportunities when they arise."

Fording said the race improved his time management. The pandemic and running a business combined was especially challenging, he said.

"What I learned was by carving out a few minutes a day to make an extra three to five contacts helped me to keep up with the increased demand," he said.

Fording said during the campaign that water for agriculture and road safety would be his top priorities.

"As a commission, we will support our ag community and (North Unit Irrigation District) by continuing to engage our state legislators. Oregon Water Resources is looking at a pilot project which could benefit all water users in the basin, which we will advocate for in the upcoming session. Our Transportation System Plan is in process now and public input will be critical as we move forward through the process. Tough decisions will have to be made on closures and safety improvements will have to be prioritized."

Fording was appreciative of all those who supported him.

"I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all my supporters," he said. "Thanks for the prayers, your votes and your yards for my signs! Thanks for the donations, the letters to the editor and your help with our events. Thanks for talking with your friends, family and neighbors and getting the message out. I am proud to represent everybody in Jefferson County and look forward to the next four years."

Fording acknowledged Schmith's hard work.

"I would like to thank Kim Schmith for running a civil and clean campaign," he said. "Kim and her supporters' hard work should be acknowledged. I have known Kim for some time now and know she will continue to be involved in our community. I wish her the best in the future."

Schmith said she will stay involved in service.

"I am a strong believer in community involvement and will continue to support events and groups throughout our community," Schmith said. "Currently I am gearing up for Operation Rudolph and looking forward to changing the lives of many young children who would have a bleak Christmas without the caring donations of time and gifts from our community.

"The inequalities of the Election Division and 12 rural Oregon counties having earlier, unclarified voter's pamphlet deadlines still galls me and is something I will tackle to get rectified," she added, when asked what she had learned during the race.

"I want to thank my supporters for their incredibly hard work," she said. "The people that support me do so because they want a more active County Commissioner, one more involved in the community and someone who will represent all the communities.

"I encourage my supporters to get (or keep) involved in the community, that each of us make a difference," she said. "I believe the county is stronger for me running, for people talking about the election and what they desire from a county commissioner. For example, the county is now talking about having Spanish speaking translators available in the main county office (they are already available in Public Health and Sheriff's Office) which I believe is vital for open communication with the Spanish-speaking people of the community. I hope they move forward with this as in person translations are more accurate than a phone translation app."

Madras City Council

Incumbents Jennifer Holcomb and Gary Walker will return to the Madras City Council, along with newcomer Austin Throop.

The top three vote-getters in the four-way race won seats on the council. Holcomb received the most votes, 1,664, with 30.59% of the total. Walker was second, with 1,493, or 27.45%. And Throop narrowly edged out Mathew Birchard, with 20.59%, or 1,120 votes, to Birchard's 19.71%, or 1,072. A total of 5,439 votes were cast.

"I expect a lot of my work in the coming term will be determined by the commissions and other important events coming up," Throop said. "I personally would love to be on a Law Enforcement Commission to help elevate our cops and city."

To his supporters, Throop said: "I am so grateful that trust has been placed in me. As an agnostic millennial, it's important to me that we recognize and respect one another for our differences. In the aftermath of Trumpism, I promise not to leave anyone behind, even those who did not support me. To me, I want to make my city better for everyone."

Efforts to reach Holcomb and Walker were unsuccessful.

Culver Mayor

Challenger Jake Schwab defeated incumbent Nancy Diaz in the race for Culver mayor 349-293. Schwab received 54.02% of votes, compared with 45.36% for Diaz. In the race, 646 people voted.

Schwab said his plans for the next term includes learning the new role.

"I want to glean as much wisdom as I can," he said. "I am excited to start meeting with those that make Culver amazing. I also would like to keep navigating our town through COVID regulations. We need to keep a positive attitude for our town coming out of this pandemic, whenever that may be."

Schwab said he had learned quite a few things during the race.

"One important thing I learned is, many citizens of Culver are very passionate about the future of their town. They care deeply about their youth and community. I love their passion for making this a better community to live in."

Diaz said she is looking forward.

"My plans for the future include relaxing, quilting, and spending time doing what my husband, who just retired, and I have been planning, which is taking vacations," Diaz said. "I look forward to vacations that do not include conferences."

Diaz, who was the Culver City Council president, became mayor in 2014 when Shawna Clanton resigned the post.

She was said it was hard to pick highlights from her tenure but noted a few.

"Something that I enjoyed so much was being invited to visit with the third grade classes each year to talk about city government," she said. "That is at the top of my list. I also started a Mayor's Youth Advisory Committee. We met once a month until COVID-19 hit. The city completed the stormwater project, which had been talked about and started before I was elected as a city councilor. When the windstorm hit in May, I was so proud of the residents in this city taking care of each other, helping, asking what they could do to help. It was wonderful. Lastly, growing the Crawdad Festival. We had to cancel it for 2020, but each year it got bigger and better."

Schwab said he planned to preserve the Youth Advisory Council.

"I want that team to be empowered to bring their ideas and events to me and help them come to fruition," he said. "I also would like to see more family friendly events happen in Culver, such as summer weekly or bi-weekly movies in the park."

Diaz said she had no regret.

"I thank every person who has supported me over the years," Diaz said. "... I have made wonderful friends and learned so much. It was an honor to serve and I enjoyed it."

As for Schwab, Diaz wished him well.

"The city has knowledgeable, dedicated staff and a stellar city attorney," she said. "They will help you when needed. ... City government moves slowly. Take the training that is offered; it is important. Lastly, have fun!"

Schwab praised the work Diaz had done.

"I would like to thank Mayor Diaz for all of her time and dedication she has put into Culver," he said. "I hope to learn from her legacy and build from the foundation she has set.

"I would like to deeply thank everyone who came out and showed their support for me at the polls," he said. "So many kind words have (been) spoken over me and I am humbled and honored to step into this new position. I appreciate the confidence and I look forward to serving the community of Culver to the best of my ability."

Measure 16-96 (Oregon-Idaho border)

Voters narrowly approved a measure that requires the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners to meet twice a year to promote the county's interest with regard to the Oregon-Idaho border, with 51.02% voting yes and 48.98% voting no. The group that sponsored the measure would like to see some rural areas of Oregon included in Idaho rather than in Oregon. The measure passed by just 227 votes of the 11,083 cast.

Madras Mayor

Madras Mayor Richard Ladeby ran unopposed to retain his position, garnering 97.49% of 1,993 votes cast.

Metolius Mayor

Current Council President Patty Wyler ran unopposed to serve as mayor of Metolius. She won 92.63% of the 312 votes cast,.

Metolius City Council

Three people ran unopposed for the Metolius City Council — Lloyd Trent, Kelly Clowers and current Mayor Carl "Foncie" Elliott. They were all re-elected, with Clowers gaining 33.29%, Elliott gaining 30.71%, and Trent gaining 30.58% of the 775 votes cast.

Culver City Council

Bart Carpenter, Gretchen Schlie and Steve McCall were each running unopposed to serve on the Culver City Council. They received 96.39%, 98.17% and 98.02%, respectively.

Jefferson County Treasurer

Jefferson County Treasurer ran unopposed and will retain her position. She garnered 98.45% of the total votes 7,805 votes cast in the race.

Jefferson County Soil and Water Conservation District

Scott Samsel and Sean Vibbert each ran unopposed to serve on the Jefferson County Soil and Water Conservation District Board.

No candidate filed for the Zone 1 position, which had 479 write-in votes, or Zone 5, which had 422 write-in votes.

State Senator, 30th District

In the race for state senator, 62.84% of Jefferson County residents voted for incumbent Republican Lynn Findley, while 36.98% supported Democrat and Warm Springs resident Carina Miller.

Findley won the district by a slightly higher margin, 67.02% to 32.82% for Miller.

State Representative, 59th District

In the race for state representative, Jefferson County voters favored Republican incumbent Daniel Bonham 63.46% to 36.42% for Democrat Arlene Burns.

Bonham also won the seat, with 59.95% of the district favoring him or 39.91% for Burns.

U.S. Representative, 2nd District

In the 2nd District, 64.38% of Jefferson County voters supported Republican Cliff Bentz, and 32.21% supported Democrat Alex Spenser.

The rest of the 2nd District also favored Bentz, and he won 60.03% of the vote to Spenser's 36.79%.

President & Vice President, local

In Jefferson County, 60.38% of the 11,308 votes cast for president were for Donald Trump, and 36.91% were for Joseph Biden.

In Oregon, Biden took 56.47% of the total, and Trump took 40.38%. Biden was projected to win the presidency Saturday morning.

More statewide election results will appear in the Nov. 18 Pioneer.


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