GOLD BEACH Curry County tree farmer Wayne Krieger appears headed to Salem in the state representative District 48 race.
Rep. Ken Messerle, the man he will replace, was also leading in his bid to move up to the state senate seat in District 24, but votes from Lane and Douglas counties made it a tight race.
At 10 p.m., Krieger had 7,544 votes in Coos and Curry counties, with 55.5 percent of the vote. Democratic challenger Barbara Dodrill had 6,057, or 44.5 percent of the vote.
Krieger said his lead in Coos County was unexpected. The people have confidence I can do what needs to be done, he said.
Krieger called his victory, A very looming responsibility, but he isnt wasting any time getting used to the job.
He will meet with House Majority Leader Mark Simmons today (Nov. 8) in Salem to start planning.
Its a new experience for me, said Krieger. He said if someone had said in 1964 that a state game warden could become a representative for Coos and Curry counties, people in the bars of both counties would have laughed.
Krieger plans to start working immediately on employment, family wage jobs and the economy, as well as on health issues.
It wont be easy, he said.
Dodrill said, This was a wonderful journey. I wouldnt have missed it for anything in the world.
She praised the wonderful people who worked on her campaign, and said she made a lot of new friends.
Dodrill was also proud she didnt go negative in her campaign, but said her defeat proves that negative campaigning works.
She said she will stay involved in public life and will keep on top of Krieger to make sure he lives up to his campaign promises.
In the senate race, Messerle had 12,296 votes in Coos and Curry counties with 55.5 percent of the vote.
His Democratic challenger, Roger McCorkle, had 9,747 votes, or 44.5 percent.
District 24 also includes parts of Douglas and Lane counties, and McCorkle said late Tuesday night that he was doing much better there, making the race too close to concede.
We really dont know yet, he said from a restaurant in Coos Bay.
Messerle agreed that the race was too close to call. If the trend keeps up, he said from Republican headquarters in Coos County, It looks positive.