Bearnson, Zarosinski, Stine lead in Medford races
A picture of the three new faces who will be on the Medford City Council was closer to fully developing late Tuesday.
Nine candidates were trying for seats in three city wards.
The Ward 2 victor will replace councilor Karen Blair, who served three years on the council but died this past June after a long battle with lung cancer. The winners of the Ward 3 and Ward 4 races will replace John Michaels and Bob Strosser, respectively. Michaels wraps up 10 years on the council with his departure, Strosser 16.
Just before 10 p.m., with about 57 percent of the votes counted, the races for wards 2 and 4 remained tight, while the top candidate of ward 3's race retained a significant lead.
In Ward 2, Gypsy Blues Bar owner Clay Bearnson had a slim lead with 1,417 votes, or 39 percent of the total. RVTD Operations Manager Tim D'Alessandro trailed with 1,314 votes, or about 36 percent of the vote. Bearnson said he was pleased with the results but did not want to jump the gun until the final vote was counted.
“The variance can differ greatly from the night before and the day after," Bearnson said. "I am excited, and if everything persists the way it is, then I’m excited. (But) it’s really close.”
Mary Jane's Attic co-owner Marlene Nuckols had 859 votes, or about 24 percent of the total.
A majority of the early votes in Ward 4's four-candidate race — the most candidates of any city council race — went to candidate Michael Zarosinski, who works for Adkins Consulting. He had collected 2,682 votes, or about 46 percent of the total. Southern Oregon University business professor Donna Lane trailed with 2,315 votes, or about 40 percent of the total.
“You certainly can’t complain about having a lead. It’s certainly close," Zarosinski said. "I’m not counting anything out at this point. But it’s good.”
Trailing were antiques store owner George Schroeder with 454 votes, 8 percent of the total, and Andrew Watson with 333 votes, 6 percent of the total counted.
In Ward 3, Kevin Stine, a full-time student and U.S. Navy veteran, had a more comfortable lead with 1,336 votes, or 50 percent of the total. Challenger Don Libby, who works for Jackson County Security, trailed with 762 votes, or 29 percent. Travis Hardey, who had previously withdrawn from the race, but whose name was still on the ballot, had racked up 517 votes, or about 19 percent of the total counted.
Stine said he felt comfortable considering himself the winner of the ward 3 race and said he is eager to get to work.
“I’m very relieved. I’m glad the work I put in for many months, my message, is resonating with people,” Stine said.