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FEW SURPRISES, LOW TURNOUT FOR PRIMARY ELECTION

GOLD BEACH – The 2002 Oregon primary election produced few surprises in Curry County and around the state, and even fewer voters.

Only 42 percent of Curry County's 14,277 registered voters cast ballots, half of them by mail, half by drop-box. That was far below the 65 percent turnout in the May 2000 presidential primary, and even below the 51 percent turnout in the May 1998 polling-place election.

Statewide, the turnout percentage was expected to be in the low 40s. Multnomah County reported a 41 percent turnout at 9 p.m. Tuesday.

Curry County Elections Coordinator Connie Higgins wasn't surprised. She said there were no tax or local money measures to draw Curry voters out, and only two candidate races.

Of those, Curry County Commissioner Rachelle Schaaf easily deflected a challenge in the Democratic primary from Olive Wooldridge.

Schaaf's fellow commissioners selected her over Wooldridge a year ago to fill out the term of retiring commissioner Cheryl Thorp.

Democratic voters confirmed that choice Tuesday night by giving Schaaf nearly 74 percent of the vote.

Schaaf's 1,561 votes did not match, however, the 2,215 garnered by the Republican she will face in the November election: Ralph Brown.

Brown, who ran unopposed for his party's nomination, said it will be more of a challenge to keep those votes when there are two names on the ballot.

The two men running for state representative, 1st District, also enjoyed having the only names on their parties' respective ballots.

Incumbent Republican Wayne Krieger received 2,525 votes in Curry County, while the Democrat who will challenge him in November, Dave Tilton, received 1,647 votes.

Curry County Surveyor Jerry Floyd won reelection with a bit more than 46 percent of the vote.

Former Curry County Surveyor Darryl Niemi received 27.4 percent of the vote, and Mark Moore 26.3 percent.

In the statewide races, Curry County shed its maverick image and voted the same way as the rest of the state, but by different margins.

For the U.S. Senate, Curry Democrats chose Oregon Secretary of State Bill Bradbury by 81.6 percent.

He won even more easily statewide, with 87 percent, and will face incumbent Republican Sen. Gordon Smith in November.

Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Springfield and his Republican challenger in November for the 4th District congressional seat, Liz VanLeeuwen, ran unopposed.

Each party had three main candidates for governor, and a host of supporting players.

In the Democratic primary, Ted Kulongoski won statewide with 49 percent of the vote. He also won in Curry County with nearly 44 percent of the vote.

Statewide, Jim Hill took second in the race, and Bev Stein third. In Curry County, it was the other way around.

In the Republican gubernatorial primary, Kevin Mannix was something of a surprise winner, since he raised less than half as much money as his main competitors, Ron Saxton and Jack Roberts.

Statewide, Mannix garnered about 35 percent of the vote, Roberts 30 percent and Saxton 29 percent.

In Curry County, it was Mannix with 36 percent, Roberts with 33 percent, and Saxton with 18 percent.

In the nonpartisan contests, Dan Gardner won the labor commissioner race statewide with about 60 percent of the vote. He also won in Curry County, but with less than 47 percent of the vote.

Susan Castillo won the superintendent of public instruction race in nearly every county in Oregon. She garnered almost 53 percent of the vote in Curry County, and 55 percent statewide.

The race for judge of the court of appeals, position No. 1, was as partisan as a nonpartisan contest can get.

Judge David Schuman, appointed by the governor, was supported by lawyers, environmentalists and labor groups.

David Hunnicutt, a lawyer and lobbyist for the property-rights group Oregonians in Action, was supported by victims' rights advocates and Republicans.

Schuman defeated Hunnicutt decisively across the state by wide margins in urban areas and smaller ones in rural areas. He won 59 percent of the vote statewide.

He took a little more than 51 percent of the vote in Curry County, one of his slimmest margins of victory.

Measure 13, which would have turned an education endowment fund into a rainy day fund for schools, and used most of the money immediately, was defeated statewide and in Curry County.

About 52 percent of voters in Oregon said no. In Curry County, more than 54 percent voted against the measure.

Curry voters joined with those in the rest of the state to pass Measures 10 and 11 by wide margins.

Measure 10 will allow universities to own stock in startup companies that use technology the schools created.

Measure 11 will allow the Oregon Health and Science University to issue $200 million in general obligation bonds to build labs and buildings.

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