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John Hutzler has held the post for 12 years, but he's well behind in Tuesday's election results.

COURTESY PHOTO - Adams-WannbergA challenger to a 12-year veteran appears to have won a landslide victory to become auditor of Washington County.

Kristine Adams-Wannberg, who currently serves as the county's principal management auditor, was significantly ahead in early election results with 63.6% of the vote compared to incumbent John Hutzler, who had collected only 35.8%.

Adams-Wannberg ran on a platform of improved transparency, efficiency and effectiveness throughout the county. She listed modernizing the auditor's office and conducting audits on topics she considers high priority areas such as public health and transportation programs as priorities. She also said she would push for transparency when it comes to federal spending.

In the controversial race for auditor, Pamplin Media Group took Hutzler to task weeks before the election after it was discovered that he quoted excerpts from a letter to the editor written by one of his supporters to Pamplin Media Group newspapers.

While that isn't a problem in itself, Hutzler attributed those quotes as coming from the Beaverton Valley Times and the Hillsboro Tribune instead of the author. He subsequently removed those misleading attributions from his website, but it was too late to change them in Washington County's Voters' Pamphlet mailed out to voters.

Hutzler wrote in a letter to the editor that the allegation that he "intentionally mislead voters is unfair and unsupported by the facts."

Hutzler was first elected in 2010. He subsequently won reelection, running unopposed in both 2014 and 2018.

Earlier in the campaign, Adams-Wannberg said she was running in part because "it's been too long since Washington County's taxpayers had an effective county auditor in their corner."

Contacted Wednesday night, Adams-Wannberg said she was very happy with the numbers coming in, adding that she was "thrilled that Washington County voters gave the go-ahead to modernize this critical accountability function."

"There are lots of really good things ahead for this office," she said.

Adams-Wannberg said she spent lots of time on the campaign trail since she announced her intent to run for the position last fall. She said she enjoyed talking to voters and finding out what their concerns were.

At the same time, she said she felt Hutzler had challenges in his campaign.

"Honestly, I think one of the big things that came out was when he had misleading statements in the voters' pamphlet and on his website," said Adams-Wannberg. "I think there was a lot of concern about that."

She said the Washington County auditor position is really the "chief accountability position in the county."

A 25-year resident of Washington County, Adams-Wannberg lives in Hillsboro with her husband and three children.

Editor's note: This story has been updated.


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