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No candidate cleared the 50% mark. The top two vote-getters will advance to the November election.

PMG PHOTOS: ANNA DEL SAVIO - Kellie Jo Smith, left, and Kelly Niles, right.Updated May 19.

Kellie Jo Smith and Kelly Niles look likely to face off in November, with strong leads in the primary for Columbia County Commissioner, position 2, the latest election tallies show.

Smith, a St. Helens school board member and local business owner, is the leading vote-getter. However, she's still well under the 50% threshold she would need to clear in order to be elected outright in the May primary.

Updated results released May 19 show little change since election night; Smith with 35.4% of the vote, followed by Niles with 30.1%.

Niles is a wildland fire supervisor with the Oregon Department of Forestry.

Since neither candidate earned more than half the vote in the four-candidate primary, Smith and Niles appear set to face each other in the November general election, if the results hold.

More ballots still remain to be counted. Registered voters who submitted ballots with issues like signatures that don't match their voter registration will have the opportunity to correct the issue. But those ballots, which elections officials estimated number 300 to 400, are unlikely to change the election results.

Brian Brust would need 677 more votes to jump past Niles.

Brust trailed behind Niles with 24.4% of votes on as of Thursday, May 19. Jonathan Barclay was in a distant fourth place with 9.6%.

However, this election is the first time that Oregon has accepted ballots that were sent by mail and postmarked by 8 p.m. on election night. Previously, ballots were only accepted if received by elections officials by that time. It is unclear how many more ballots may arrive in the next week.

Smith and Niles both have prior governmental experience, Smith on the school board and Niles on the board of Columbia River Fire & Rescue and a number of local advisory committees, in addition to his job.

The other two contenders for the nonpartisan position did not report any prior governmental experience.

Read more about the candidates here and here.


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