Rogers defeats Morace, Kulla unseats Primozich, Bonamici first Democrat to win in Yamhill County in decades
Although the numbers won't be official for some time, the ballots have been counted in Yamhill County and the results of the November general election are in. There were a few surprises, some tight races and more than a little angst on election night as another election season is in the books.
Here's a look at races of note in the area.
Newberg mayoral and council races
Newberg residents handily elected Rick Rogers as the city's next mayor, with the executive director of Newberg Habitat for Humanity securing nearly 64 percent of the vote. Rogers will replace incumbent Bob Andrews, who announced last summer he would not seek re-election.
Rogers defeated Nicholas Morace, who placed a distant second with just over 28 percent and a total of 2,486 votes compared to Rogers's 5,584. A third candidate, Buddy Cook, came it at just under 8 percent of the vote (685 votes). Write-in candidates received less than 1 percent of the vote. All told, 8,790 city residents voted in the mayoral race.
For the Newberg City Council, newcomer Elizabeth Gemeroy ran unopposed for the District 2 seat being vacated by councilor Stephen McKinley, who did not seek re-election. In District 4, incumbent Patrick Johnson was re-elected to his seat; he ran unopposed. And in District 6, Stephanie Findley defeated challenger Brad Sitton by a margin of 5,007 to 1,777. She secured just over 73 percent of the vote. Current District 6 councilor Scott Essin did not seek re-election for that seat.
Dundee mayoral and council races
David Russ ran unopposed for another term as Dundee mayor, while three candidates for the City Council – incumbents Ted Crawford and Storr Nelson, along with newcomer Patrick Kelly – were elected to fill the three at-large positions. Kelly topped the candidates with 861 votes (33.84 percent), while Crawford earned 822 votes (32.31 percent) and Nelson 818 votes (32.15 percent).
The race for Position 1 on the Yamhill County Board of Commissioners was expected to be a close one, but it proved to be anything but as challenger Casey Kulla outdistanced incumbent Stan Primozich by a margin of more than 11 percent in Tuesday's election. Kulla, an organic farmer from Grand Island, garnered 21,131 votes (55.6 percent) to Primozich's 16,753 (44.09 percent).
However, the race for Yamhill County Circuit Court judge was as tight as a hipster's jeans. The contest to replace retiring Judge Ronald Stone between deputy district attorney Lisl Miller and McMinnville attorney Jennifer Chapman was decided by 0.35 percent with Chapman earning 18,547 votes (50.03 percent) to Miller's 18.417 votes (49.68). Should the vote tally remain true the race would not qualify for a recount under Oregon law, which requires the difference to be less than one-fifth of 1 percent to trigger a recount.
Republican State Reps. Ron Noble and Bill Post will retain their positions in the House after easily defeating their challengers. Noble outdistanced Democratic challenger Ken Moore 56.09 percent (15,775 votes) to 43.79 percent (12,316 votes). Post thumped Democrat Dave McCall 58.44 percent (14,509 votes) to 41.24 percent (10,283 votes).
Incumbent state Sen. Kim Thatcher beat Democrat/Working Families Party challenger Sarah Grider 56.26 percent (29,308 votes) to 43.60 percent (22.714 votes) to remain in the Senate for another four years.
1st Congressional District
Incumbent Suzanne Bonamici, a Democrat, made quick work of defeating Libertarian Drew Layda and Republican John Verbeek in the race for another term as congresswoman representing the 1st Congressional District, which includes all of Yamhill County and parts of several other northwest Oregon counties. Bonamici collected 63.21 percent (188,217 votes) to Verbeek's 32.85 percent (97,803 votes) and Layda's 3.81 percent (11,344 votes).
Bonamici was also the first Democrat to earn the majority of the votes in Yamhill County for many decades, collecting 49.5 percent (21,027 votes) to Verbeek's 45.51 percent (19,334) and Layda's 4.83 percent (2,053 votes).