Scholl reelected to St. Helens mayor seat
Rick Scholl, who took 67.8 percent of the vote according to the unofficial final tally after the midterm elections Tuesday, Nov. 6, will serve his second term as the mayor of St. Helens starting in 2019.
When the first round of ballots were counted Tuesday night just after polls closed, Scholl showed an early lead. Throughout the night, Scholl maintained a steady lead over his opponent. At 11 p.m, Scholl still held 68 percent of the vote.
Scholl was facing Al Petersen, a St. Helens business owner and a board member of the St. Helens Economic Development Corp., in the mayoral race. This election marked Petersen's first run for public office, although he ran for a position on the Portland Community College board in 2011Scholl said he is humbled by the support of the city's voters.
"I'm feeling that the citizens really appreciate the efforts I put forward and that we are moving in a positive direction," he said.
During his next term in office, Scholl said he plans to continue to focus on the redevelopment of the city's waterfront property, continuing to build the St. Helens recreation program and affordable housing.
As of Wednesday, just over 5,000 ballots had been counted in the mayoral race, according to the Oregon Secretary of State election data. Scholl took 3,400 of those votes.
For comparison, 5,600 ballots were cast in the 2016 election. In that race, Scholl unseated longtime former Mayor Randy Peterson with a much slimmer margin of 50 percent of the vote to Peterson's 48 percent.
Scholl and Petersen took similar approaches when it came to campaigning for the election. Scholl said he had hoped to limit spending to less than $750, like he did the first time he ran. He primarily targeted voters through word of mouth and social media promotion.
While Petersen followed a similar tactic with his campaign, he reported spending several hundred dollars more than Scholl. Petersen also gained some attention during the election when his mother, St. Helens attorney Agnes Petersen, filed a lawsuit against the city, alleging it improperly agreed to sell city-owned land to a marijuana cultivation business hopeful. Petersen said the lawsuit was not directly connected to him, despite some perception to the contrary.
Petersen did not respond to a request for comment by the Spotlight's press time.