City gas tax reinstatement passes by 82 percent margin

As of press deadline Tuesday night, it appeared Christopher Paasch and Jeri Lynn Thompson were headed to the November primaries after receiving the first- and second-most votes, respectively, for the county commissioner seat begin vacated by Tom Huxley next January.

In Oregon primaries, one candidate must receive the majority of the votes — 50 percent plus one voter — to be declared the victor and not face anyone in the November general election.

In the end, 6,437 of 16,565 eligible voters cast ballots Tuesday.

Paasch received 1,855 votes to Thompson’s 1,103, or 46.27 to 27.5 percent.

Jan Barbas received 854 votes for 21.3 percent of the votes. Andre Bay, who announced two weeks ago that he’d be withdrawing from the race but whose name was still on the ballot, received 175, or 4.36 percent of the votes.

The only local question was from the city of Brookings, asking voters to reinstate its 4-cent per gallon fuel tax, which was overwhelmingly approved by more than 82 percent to 17 percent.

The success of that measure might have been due in part to signs the city erected in road construction zones noting that the work was paid for by revenue generated by the tax. It replaced a fee on residents’ water bills that used to go toward road maintenance.

In other elections:

•In the State Senate election, Shannon Souza was leading the Democratic ticket, but she is already a shoe-in for the November election after being named the nominee to run against Republican Sen. Dallas Heard of Winston. Heard was appointed to fill Sen. Jeff Kruse’s vacant seat in early April after Kruse left the statehouse over allegations of sexual harassment.

•State Rep. David Brock Smith received 4,362 votes as of 9:30 p.m. in his attempt to secure his incumbency in the state house.

•U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio was leading the pack with 91.54 percent of Democrat voters casting their vote for the incumbent.

•Early returns showed Curry County Commissioner Court Boice running behind Art Robinson of Cave Junction for the U.S. Rep. Republican seat by a margin of 2-1. Within a half-hour, however, that situation flip-flopped and Boice took the lead with 55 percent of the vote. By press deadline, Boice held 22.89 percent of the votes in the district to Robinson’s 45.78 percent and Jo Rae Perkins’s 21.15 percent.

•Circuit Court Judge Jesse Margolis also took the vast majority of votes, 98.6 percent, or 10,747 votes in early returns.

•Within 10 minutes of the polls closing, the Oregonian was already calling Gov. Kate Brown the victor for her second run in the office. In Curry County, the Democrat attracted 78 percent of the votes on her ticket, compared to the leader on the Republican ticket, Knute Buehler, with 48 percent — and who was up against eight other candidates. The two will face off in November.

Ballot returns started off slow this year, with 5,759 ballots, or 34.7 percent, returning them to the elections office in Gold Beach by Monday evening. As of noon Election Day, a total of 5,759 ballots, or 34.7 percent of Curry Countians, had submitted their ballots. That night, it had nudged up to just over 38 percent.

Primary elections usually don’t see the larger turnout that November general elections do, and even the November general election figures are typically lower in non-presidential election years, elections officials claim.

Statewide, only 19 percent of Oregonians had turned in their ballots by 9 a.m. Monday, compared with a previous low of 25 percent the Monday before the 2014 primary. That year, at the end of ballot-counting, 35.5 percent had turned in their ballots.