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Ben West is down by too many votes to make up large deficit to Julie Fitzgerald

PMG FILE PHOTO - Julie Fitzgerald will be the next Wilsonville mayor. This story has been updated.

After initial results Tuesday night showed former Wilsonville City Councilor Julie Fitzgerald with a huge lead over Councilor Ben West, the race for mayor appears to be over.

According to ballot tallies as of 5 p.m. Thursday, West trailed by 2,139 votes, and the Clackamas County elections office told Pamplin Media Group that just under 2,000 Wilsonville ballots were left to count. Overall, the county had received 14,257 accepted ballots and had counted 12,262 by Thursday afternoon.

As of 5 p.m. Friday, Fitzgerald had 58% of 12,401 votes while West had collected 42%.

In a statement, Fitzgerald said she was delighted to be elected and by a sizable margin.

"Wilsonville voters have affirmed their commitment to a safe, civil, economically strong and inclusive community," she said. "I thank each and every one of our Julie Fitzgerald for Mayor campaign volunteers and supporters for their strong support and inspiring values. From writing letters to the editor, to graphic design and building the website to displaying signs and working on many tasks, these volunteers were incredible. My husband, Bob, has been such a rock through the entire campaign, working side by side with me and keeping it fun. I thank each volunteer and my volunteer campaign manager, Susie Stevens, who is the best campaign manager imaginable."

West said Thursday night that he called Fitzgerald to congratulate her on her victory. He surmised that partisan and nationalized politics might have contributed to his defeat, but also said Fitzgerald will make for a "fantastic" mayor and that the upcoming council will work great together.

"I stand by the things I ran on," West said. "I stand by running a campaign that was pro jobs, pro economy. I stand by my call for good government and transparent government and a visionary future."

Fitzgerald reiterated that both candidates are committed to working well together with the rest of the council next year and she also thanked current Mayor Tim Knapp, who will complete three terms in that role at the end of this year.

"We will begin 2021 living in a city that is the envy of many for its beauty, safety, strong economic base, beautiful parklike neighborhoods, respect for natural resources and commitment to inclusivity," Fitzgerald said. "As mayor, I look forward to making our city even better and protecting its unique livability. I will lead a productive council with strong representation from each councilor."

Before his hopes of a comeback became mathematically impossible, West told the Spokesman he thought the remaining ballots might lean conservative and therefore toward him. However, he recognized a comeback would require "some magic." West inched a few percentage points closer from the initial results but not enough to change the outcome.

Meanwhile, Council President Kristin Akervall still leads the race for two open City Council spots, earning 31% of 19,944 votes cast. Councilor Joann Linville's second-place lead has narrowed, however. She now has 29% of the vote while challenger John Budiao has 26%. Budiao would have to win the yet-to-be counted ballots by a decisive margin to make up the deficit. Challenger Imran Haider has collected 14% of the vote.


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