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Opponents clear in local state legislature races

Oregon OR Election Voting State Map Word 3d Illustration

A clear lead in a contested Republican race and unopposed races elsewhere in the closed primary election paint a clear picture as to Southern Oregon voters’ choices in the general election this fall.

As of Wednesday morning, Medford mayor Randy Sparacino had lost just a couple percentage points from his more than 50-point lead Tuesday night against opponent Kevin Christman in the race to be the GOP nominee for Oregon’s District 3 State Senate contest.

The results tabulated at 7:14 a.m. Wednesday showed Sparacino as receiving 73.8% of the 11,551 registered Republican votes counted, with another 2,974 — 25.75% of the votes — going to Christman, a Talent artist and retired aerospace engineer. Some 52 voters submitted write-in candidates for other candidates.

Sparacino will face Democrat incumbent Jeff Golden in the Nov. 8 election. Golden ran unopposed in the closed election, although 171 of the 13,173 Democrat voters — 1.3% of votes — were write-in candidates, according to the election results.

Sparacino said Tuesday night that if he were to win the general election, it’d be up to the Medford City Council how to proceed to fill his vacated seat as mayor, but he would recommend they move quickly in order to time an election with the May 2023 school board election.

The latest results are still preliminary. A complete count and certified election results are weeks away because the state now accepts mailed ballots up to seven days after polls close, provided they have a postmark of May 17 or earlier.

Other closed election races that were uncontested are even clearer.

Incumbent Democratic Oregon Rep. Pam Marsh of Ashland and incumbent Republican Rep. Kim Wallan of Medford were each nominated for their respective parties after running unopposed in the primary election for positions in the state House of Representatives.

Marsh will face Republican challenger Sandra A. Abercrombie in the Nov. 8 general election for the 5th district seat, and Wallan will face Democrat challenger Dan Davis in the 6th District.

Jackson County voters largely mirrored the statewide votes in the primary governor’s races, with the majority of local Democrats picking Tina Kotek as their gubernatorial nominee and the majority of local Republicans picking Christine Drazan as the GOP governor nominee.

In Jackson County, Kotek received 56.37% of the 19,516 Democrat votes as of Wednesday morning, and Tobias Read received 6,147. Statewide, Kotek received 55.79% of 338,895 Democrat votes, and Read received 32.11% the preliminary numbers showed. Ashland candidate Julian Bell received 1.65% of Jackson County votes and 0.81% of the statewide pool.

Drazan was winning the statewide nomination Wednesday with 23.29% of 260,816 Republican votes across the state, and Bob Tiernan at 18.31%. In Jackson County, Drazan received 22.97% of 22,679 votes and Tiernan received 19.6%. Medford candidate Jessica Gomez received 7.19% of local votes and 2.68% of Republican votes across the state.

Preliminary election results Wednesday showed that two of three measures across Southern Oregon surrounding the Greater Idaho movement — a long-shot bid to change the state boundary — were failing.

The lead was growing in Klamath County for ballot measure 18-121 — forming an unpaid advisory board that would review potential county benefits for relocating state borders to Idaho — growing from 9 points Tuesday evening to more than 12 points as of Wednesday morning with 56.11% of 14,720 in favor and 6,460 votes opposed.

Similar Greater Idaho measures in Josephine and Douglas counties were failing, with 54.56% of 18,912 Josephine County voters rejecting Measure 17-106 and 57.16% of 15,200 Douglas County voters rejecting Measure 10-185 as of Wednesday morning.

Elsewhere, a familiar name in Southern Oregon political circles was doing well in a bid for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Jamie McLeod-Skinner was in the lead for the Democratic nomination for the state’s new 5th congressional district, which represents portions of Clackamas, Deschutes, Jefferson, Linn, Marion and Multnomah countie.

McLeod-Skinner — who served as Talent’s interim city manager in 2021, previously worked as Phoenix’s city manager in 2016 and 2017, and was the 2018 Democratic nominee for Oregon’s second congressional district — led with 60.92% of 40,771 votes in the district, ahead of incumbent Democrat Kurt Schrader who received 38.42%.

If the lead sticks, McLeod-Skinner would face Republican candidate Lori Chavez-Deremer in the Nov. 8 general election, according to preliminary results.

Reach web editor Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MTwebeditor.