(Update: Final numbers, or at least what appeared to be final this a.m. showed that voter turnout was much better than earlier numbers indicated. Roughly 72 percent of registered voters turned out for the election in Deschutes County. However, late arriving ballots did little to change the overall results. Perhaps save the Bend City Council race which tightened to a razor thin margin overnight with Scott Ramsay, clinging to an 8, yes 8, vote lead over Chuck Arnold.)
The Deschutes County Clerk's office seemed particularly expedient this year, putting out election results in a matter of about an hour after polls closed. Perhaps that's a function of the dismal turnout, roughly 44 percent locally according the county clerk. The results were not good for anyone a D next to their name, meanwhile republicans and just about anyone who hung their hat on the Tea Party talking points fared quite well.
The big story of the night was the apparent defeat of Judy Stiegler, the junior state representative from Bend, who trailed Republican challenger Jason Conger by almost more than 3,ooo votes with Conger grabbing an outright majority (52 percent) of the 31,000 votes cast. While some observers expected independent candidate Mike Kozak to siphon some votes from Conger, Kozak appeared to be a minimal factor in the race, grabbing just over 2,000 total votes,or less than six percent. A former city councilor and one-time Republican, Kozak ran on a platform of fiscal conservativism and limited government and by some accounts outperformed Conger in the debates. However, Kozak had limited resources for his campaign, which was limited to personal appearances, lawn signs and a few advertisements. By way of contrast, the Conger campaign raised a quarter million dollars for his run and spent it liberally, attacking Stieglers record on the economy in a series of dubious adds that portrayed Stiegler as a tax happy, liberal who trashed Oregon's economy. Stiegler made a late fundraising push and went after Conger's conservative credentials including his anti-abortion views and support of school vouchers. But it appears to have been too little too late for Stiegler, who if nothing else was caught up in an overwhelming wave of anti-incumbency fever, here and everywhere.
The exception, locally was incumbent city council Mark Capell, who defeated conservative challenger Mark Moseley, a former Freightliner executive, who campaigned on platform of fee and tax reductions (aka job growth) and limited government. With all precincts reporting, Capell led 54 to Moseley's 39 percent, just before 10 p.m.
The more interesting story might be the other Bend city council seat where Downtown Bend Business Association ED Chuck Arnold squared off against local business owner Scott Ramsay. At 10 p.m. with all precincts reporting, Ramsay led by just over 300 votes out of more than 12,000 cast with more than 4,000 under votes reported. Could we be looking at a local recount?
In other Deschutes County news,
Republican Tony DeBone appeared to have easily defeated Dallas Brown in the race for the lone opening on the Deschutes County Commission. The 25-year-old Brown ran a spirited campaign, however. And don't be surprised to see his name pop up again in upcoming elections.
Statewide, the governor's race remained too close to call, with Dudley hanging onto a slim lead but several thousand votes remain to be counted in Multnomah County. Dudley fared much better in Deschutes County where he nabbed almost 60 percent of the vote. Results of State Senator Chris Telfler's bid for treasurer, however, were more clear. Telfer trailed incumbent Ted Wheeler by a wide margin and the race was called early for Wheeler.
In statewide Measure's news, Oregonian's appeared to overwhelmingly support the latest get-tough on crime measure from Kevin Mannix and the Oregon Ant-crime Alliance that would require mandatory minimums for some sex crimes and repeat DUI offenders. However, they rejected a proposal to create a statewide dispensary system for medical marijuana patients. California votes rejected a more sweeping measure that would legalized possession of up to an ounce in that state.
Complete local results: