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Charter finally a winner against Greif

The fifth time appears to be the charm in Joe Charter’s bid to become a Jackson County Circuit Court judge.

Jackson County voters picked Charter for Position 8 over incumbent Judge Lisa Greif by a spread of almost 15%.

Charter had received 57.23% of the 49,421 votes tabulated in the race as of 8 p.m. Tuesday, according to early Jackson County Elections data, and Greif had 42.58% of the vote, with 93 votes going to write-in candidates.

Reached by phone Tuesday evening, Charter expressed gratitude to the voters and supporters that were “too many to list” during the race.

“I just look forward to giving my best to this position,” Charter said.

Charter said he’s prepared to do what he can to adapt to new courthouse policies and procedures to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

“We know that [COVID-19] changes everything,” he said. “I’m looking forward to working collaboratively with the court to navigate those changes.”

Charter has more than 30 years as a trial lawyer, but since being elected in 2004 as Jackson County’s Justice of the Peace, Charter has headed Jackson County’s Justice Court in Central Point handling traffic court and municipal code violations for the county except those within Medford and Ashland city limits.

If the election results are confirmed, Charter said his replacement as Justice of the Peace would be appointed by the governor based on recommendations by the Jackson County Board of Commissioners — similar to what happened when former sheriff Corey Falls vacated his elected position in 2017.

The campaign is Charter’s fifth try at a Circuit Court judge position since 1997, and his third time facing off against Greif, according to earlier Mail Tribune reports. Charter largely framed the latest election as a referendum against Greif for a series of private, profanity-laced text messages from 2017 which surfaced as part of a whistleblower lawsuit against the former leaders of OnTrack. Greif apologized for the messages.

Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MTCrimeBeat.

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