Curry County voters came out in record numbers to vote in Tuesday’s election, placing new county commissioners and city councilors onto boards and into the public eye.
In a close race that was vitriolically fought by supporters on both sides, voters cast 4,955 votes for Christopher Paasch and 4,293 for Jeri Lynn Thompson for county commissioner. Paasch will take the place of Commissioner Tom Huxley, who opted not to seek a second term.
“I hope the county starts with some healing,” Paasch said. “There’s been a lot happening in the last few months and the last couple years. Hopefully, we can move forward with a positive attitude. I want to work together with everyone — Court and (Commissioner) Sue (Gold) and city leaders, as well.
“I don’t always want to be sitting at the table being the voice at the table; I want to work and all come up with ideas that will benefit everyone. I’m a worker. We’re going to get right at it this week. We’ve got a couple of things that might be a huge surprise for the county in the next couple weeks.”
Thompson could not be reached for comment.
In Brookings, Jake Pieper retained his mayoral seat with 1,388 votes to Teresa Lawson’s 1,002.
Pieper expressed his thanks to all who supported him, particularly his wife, “who endured much, especially in an unusually vile election season. I’m looking forward to continued progress for the city of Brookings.”
Lawson could not be reached for comment.
Councilor Ron Hedenskog won the Position 4 seat by a narrow margin of 1,195 to 1,036 over Dennis Triglia. And John McKinney will take over the Position 3, Hedenskog’s current seat, having garnered more votes — 1,163 votes — than that of Carla Gottlieb’s 562 and Dane Tippman’s 345 combined.
Tippman said he’ll be happy to run again in the future and congratulated McKinney for his victory. Gottlieb could not be reached for comment.
“Voters sure like John McKinney,” Tippman said. “I had 345 and he had over 1,000. Now, all the concerns the people have are going to be in the hands of the people elected.”
“I think my opponent ran a heck of an effective campaign,” Hedenskog said of Triglia. “More and more years for the good ol’ boys. I want to try to finish the stuff I started a couple years ago: the number one thing on the list is to get better health care here. And I think our community would really like to see an aqua-center — but finding a funding solution, that’s where we’ve got to go. And I think I’d just like to see continued good law and order in the community.”
Triglia could not be reached for comment.
In other local measures, voters in Port Orford turned down a ballot question to renew its property tax levy for police protection — even though the proposed levy of $1.80 per $1,000 assessed valuation levy was $0.10 less than the one it would have replaced. It was defeated 285 to 261 as of press time.
Voters in Gold Beach resoundingly defeated a fuel tax by a vote of 482 to 300. Much like Brookings’ fuel tax, revenue would have gone to street improvements. In Brookings, the 4-cent per gallon tax generates about $300,000 a year for street repairs. It was defeated by a vote of 552 to 328.
There was no Democratic “blue wave” among Curry County voters, who, at the state level, voted solely along Republican lines.
Locally, they voted for Art Robinson over incumbent U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio, by a vote of 5,595 to 4,624; and for Knute Buehler with 5,876 votes to Gov. Kate Brown’s 3,792. DeFazio retained his seat statewide, however, with votes of 174,363 to Robinson’s 124,571. Brown, too kept her seat, garnering 674,432 votes to Buehler’s 596,124 votes.
Republicans here also helped put Dallas Heard into the State Senate seat with 5,846 votes over Shannon Souza’s 4,440. District-wide, Heard received 28,433 votes to Souza’s 16,216.
And here, incumbent State Rep. David Brock Smith handily retained his District 1 seat by a vote of 18,390 votes district-wide to Eldon Rollins’ 8,810. In Curry County, 6,469 voted for Smith and 3,646 voted for Rollins.
A surge of ballots — 1,463 — were posted on Election Day in Curry County, bumping the number of votes cast from just over 9,400 Monday to 11,387. That represented a 67 percent voter turnout, among the highest in the state.
The state’s return was 63 percent as of press time Tuesday night.