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Sparacino builds big lead in Medford mayor race

Former Medford police Chief Randy Sparacino appeared to be cruising to an easy win in the Medford mayor’s race Tuesday night, pulling far ahead of his three opponents after the first batch of results were released shortly after the polls closed at 8 p.m.

“I’m cautiously optimistic,” Sparacino said Tuesday night.

Of the four candidates running in the race, Sparacino had 49.92% of the vote, or 17,964 votes.

Councilor Kevin Stine was a distant second with 19.98%, or 7,190 votes.

Councilor Clay Bearnson was third with 18.62%, or 6,707 votes.

Jim Huddleston was in fourth place with 10.9%, or 3,921 votes.

Sparacino credited his name recognition for the victory, as well as outreach through social media, signs and reaching out to individuals and business leaders.

“We focused on getting donations to do advertising on social media,” he said.

Barring any late-night surprises, Sparacino said he would be sworn in as mayor during the first council meeting in January.

“I really want to get in contact with city staff and Mayor (Gary) Wheeler and see how things are progressing with them,” he said.

In addition to reviewing projects and issues that are pressing for the city, Sparacino said he wants to take a close look at the city’s budget.

Sparacino served in the police department for almost 30 years, has been involved in a number of community groups over the years, and has been elected to one office, the Rogue Community College board.

He stepped down as police chief in 2019 and worked on a number of civic projects, including the building of the new police headquarters across the street from City Hall.

Sparacino said some of the major issues affecting the city include the economic fallout from COVID-19, affordable housing, development of a navigation center for the homeless and promoting the continued economic vitality of Medford.

But the city will need to prepare for continued economic impacts, including potential impacts to the city budget, he said.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @reporterdm.

Randy Sparacino