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Moro concedes Senate race

Democrat Tonia Moro conceded victory Wednesday to Republican Alan DeBoer in their tight and sometimes testy race for the Oregon Senate District 3 seat, despite the latest returns showing them just 535 votes apart.

Moro says she and the former Ashland mayor and businessman exchanged texts and voice mails Wednesday, though Jackson County elections officials said it could take up to 20 days to certify an election that has held steady at 50 percent of the vote for DeBoer and 49 percent for Moro.

"I congratulated him and talked about being a resource for him," Moro said. "We both have a desire to find ways to do great things together for our community."

It's a message DeBoer echoed earlier Wednesday when he said he was "cautiously optimistic" that the addition of provisional ballots and those with challenged or no signatures would keep him on top.

"It certainly brings out the need for both sides to come together to solve the problems the state faces," he said.

DeBoer said the race shows that the two candidates' messages each reached about half of the electorate, and DeBoer said he would invite Moro's regular input on positive legislative changes.

"I work well on both sides of the parties," he said. "That's what I am good at."

This seat has a history of tight races and protracted counts that have ended up with the election-night leader eventually becoming certified as the winner.

In the 2010 race, Democratic incumbent Alan Bates and Republican challenger Dave Dotterrer finished a scant 275 votes apart, dragging the conclusion out but still not close enough for a mandatory hand recount, which is triggered when the candidates' votes are within one-fifth of 1 percent of each other, says County Clerk Chris Walker.

In that race, Dotterrer paid for a recount, which affirmed Bates' victory.

As of Wednesday, DeBoer had 32,521 votes to 31,986 for Moro, a difference of 535 votes, or 8-tenths of 1 percent.

The race between DeBoer and Moro has been testy, with attack ads by Moro against DeBoer drawing criticism even from some Democrats who said it was a poor legacy for Bates, who was staunchly opposed to negative campaigning.

Though it was a short campaign, the candidates together spent almost $1.2 million in the race, according to candidate filings with the Oregon Secretary of State's Office.

DeBoer's latest filing showed he outspent Moro, collecting $648,045 and spent all but $49,913 of it. Moro collected $591,526 and spent all but $15,532, records show.

Moro, 52, is chair of the Rogue Valley Transportation District board and has served on several city councils within Jackson County and once ran unsuccessfully for a Jackson County Board of Commissioners seat.

DeBoer, 65, owner of TC Chevrolet in Ashland and Airport Chevrolet in Medford, is a lifelong Ashland resident who served as the city's mayor from 2001 to 2004 after serving two years on the City Council and eight years on the Ashland School Board.

Bates, who was first elected to the Oregon Senate in 2004, died of an apparent heart attack during an Aug. 5 fishing trip with his son. He was 71.

If returns hold up, DeBoer will serve the remaining two years of Bates' term and run for re-election in 2018.

— Reach Mail Tribune reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or mfreeman@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MTwriterFreeman.

Alan DeBoer, Tonia Moro