ASHLAND — Mayor John Stromberg is enjoying a big lead in his bid for a second term against challenger Alan DeBoer, according to early returns with the Jackson County Elections Office.
DeBoer said he was "surprised" Stromberg took such a strong lead early on, but congratulated the mayor on a likely second term.
Library levy: For the third time in six years, Ashland voters showed strong support for a property-tax levy to provide extended services and hours at their public library, according to the Jackson County Elections Office. Of the 9,002 ballots counted so far, 7,162, or 79.56 percent, supported extending the levy, according to county updates just after 10:30 p.m. The no votes numbered 1,840, or 20.44 percent.
Campaign financing: An advisory measure requesting an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would allow Congress and the states to regulate political campaign contributions and spending was winning at 79.5 percent in early returns Tuesday night.
Of 8,400 votes counted, 6,676 were in support, and 1,724, or 20.5 percent, were against, according to the Jackson County Elections Office.
Parks Commission: Vanston Shaw took a commanding lead over challenger Vicki Tripoli, with 59.6 percent, or 3,719 votes, to Tripoli's 39.42 percent, or 2,460 votes.
Stromberg had garnered 58.7 percent, or 5,181, of the votes tallied in Ashland's five precincts, according to county updates posted at about 11 p.m. on Tuesday. DeBoer had captured 34.7 percent, or 3,063 of the votes counted, and Keith Michael Erickson, or "Biome," had pulled in 552 votes, or 6.3 percent.
"I think it's pretty decisive at this point," said DeBoer, from his home in Ashland. "I'm not disappointed, the voters chose ... but I think I had a lot to offer the city."
Stromberg said he didn't take DeBoer's challenge lightly, and he was skeptical about claiming an early victory.
"The numbers look promising ... but I never feel like I can predict how elections turn out," he said, stepping out of a regularly scheduled City Council meeting. "If it turns out that I actually have been elected, it's going to be exciting ... we are really on a path together to determine what the city is going to be in the future."
In his campaign to be re-elected, Stromberg said, his priorities include thinning in the Ashland watershed to reduce wildfire risk, upgrading the city's water and sewer systems and planting trees along Bear Creek to cool its water and offset the impact of the warm treated effluent that Ashland empties into the creek.
"In the last four years, this community has been engaging its future," Stromberg said, pointing to its efforts to localize food production and encourage sustainable energy. And he hopes to continue those efforts.
"I had a campaign that drew on the connections I've built over these years within the community," he said. "Alan is a serious challenger ... he grew up here, he is a genuine philanthropist."
DeBoer, who served as mayor from 2001 to 2005, said he believed Ashland was veering off course on several fronts, particularly in its communication with citizens.
"Clearly, we need more communication with citizens ... more involvement and not less," he said.
DeBoer said he would continue to volunteer and lend his support around the community.
Reach Ashland Daily Tidings reporter at 541-499-1470 or email@example.com