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Tight battle for position 5 on West Linn-Wilsonville School Board is secured by 28 votes.

PMG FILE PHOTO - KELLY SLOOPWith all ballots finally accounted for, West Linn resident Kelly Sloop has edged out Wilsonville man Seiji Shiratori by 28 votes in the race for West Linn-Wilsonville School Board position five, according to county election results.

The hotly-contested race barely missed the threshold for an automatic recount, with Sloop receiving 22 votes in Washington County and 5,982 votes in Clackamas County to Shiratori's 30 votes in Washington County and 5,946 in Clackamas County.

According to the Oregon elections manual, the state must automatically recount votes in any race when the difference between votes for the lead candidates is one-fifth of a percent or less of total votes cast for both candidates. With 11,980 votes cast between Shiratori and Sloop, that race missed the threshold for the automatic recount by four votes.

Election laws give the losing candidate 35 days from the election date to file for a recount. Shiratori said he had not yet considered asking for one, but suggested he may think about it. Election law also grants a county clerk or the secretary of state the ability to file for recount.

Though the election took place three weeks ago, on May 18, Clackamas and Washington counties did not post final results until June 7 because of the high number of write-in votes and a large number of signatures that had to be recertified.

So long as no one contests the results, Sloop will be sworn into the school board next month along with Louis Taylor, who ran unopposed for position one, and Kirsten Wyatt, who beat out Craig Tiffany and write-in candidate Heidi Klein for the position three seat. The victors will replace school board members Regan Molatore, Dylan Hydes and Ginger Fitch, whose terms expire June 30.

"I'm humbled by the support from the community and appreciate the opportunity to serve the community as a school board member," Sloop wrote on social media. "I will advocate for open communication and transparency and will listen to all voices!"

Her social media message also hinted at the challenges brought by the campaign. Sloop did not return a request for comment.

"Thank you to my family -- for believing in me and understanding the time sacrifice needed and for picking up the slack (& vandalized signs)," she wrote. "I couldn't have done this campaign without the support from 'my people' -- who saw the good, the bad and the ugly in campaigning."

Shiratori also noted that the race had both positive and negative moments.

"There's folks out there that will say polemic or oversimplified things on social media, but I have to remind myself that for every person like that, there's somebody else that we met who has been so generous with their time and energy," he said. "All of the time that all of the volunteers have given the campaign has been encouraging and it's been a good reminder that that's how you get things done."

Sloop, a pharmacist in the small town of Banks, ran on the Republican ticket for Oregon House District 37 (West Linn and Tualatin) last year and centered her school board campaign on returning students to school for in-person, full-time learning.

Shiratori, a Wilsonville resident and former diplomat, said he also prioritized returning to in-person learning, along with promoting diversity and connecting with community members who don't have kids in school.

Shiratori said he was not currently thinking about running again, but noted the reasons that motivated him to seek election are still relevant.

Sloop also thanked her supporters and campaign volunteers.

"Your encouragement and support made the difference and I appreciate each of you," she wrote.


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