LINCOLN COUNTY — With 90 percent of the votes counted in Tuesday’s primary election as of press time, Lanee Danforth held a solid lead in the race for Lincoln County District Attorney over incumbent Jonathan Cable.
Judge Sheryl Bachart was a clear winner over challenger Russell Baldwin, and the race for Lincoln County Commissioner, Position 2, will likely go to a runoff election in November between incumbent Claire Hall and challenger Joe Hitselberger.
Initial returns tallied just after 8 p.m. on election night showed 14,784 votes cast in the DA’s race, with 8,251 (55.8 percent) going to Danforth. Cable had 5,411 votes (36.6 percent) and Kenneth Park had 1,122 (7.6 percent).
Park announced in early April that he was suspending his campaign and throwing his support behind Cable. If Danforth is able to claim more than 50 percent of the total vote, she will become the new DA. If her percentage drops below 50 percent when all votes are counted, there would be a runoff between Cable and Danforth in November. But a 2,840-vote lead for Danforth with 90 percent of the ballots counted leaves Cable with a lot of ground to make up.
Bachart handily defeated her opponent. Early returns showed 14,940 votes cast in the race, with Bachart receiving 10,694 votes (71.6 percent) to Baldwin’s 4,246 (28.4 percent).
Six candidates were in the race for county commissioner. Five names appeared on the ballot, and another, Celeste McEntee, launched a rigorous write-in campaign.
The early returns had Claire Hall with 5,965 votes (40.7 percent), followed by Joe Hitselberger with 3,080 (21 percent). Betty Kamikawa had 2,648 votes (18 percent), David Davis had 1,470 (10 percent), and Edward Johnston had 600 (4 percent). There were 907 write-in votes (6.3 percent) with 90 percent of the ballots counted. It’s likely the majority of those were for McEntee, but even if she could claim them all, it leaves her far short of the mark.
In order for one of the county commission candidates to be declared a winner in this election, that person would have to gather more than 50 percent of the total votes. It’s unlikely that Hall will get to that mark, which would mean the top two vote getters will face each other in the November general election.
The initial returns showed a total of 16,585 ballots cast, with a 47.5 percent voter turnout. Voters were allowed to drop off ballots up until 8 p.m. Tuesday at drop boxes around the county, so the bulk of the remaining votes should have been counted by the end of the night. The latest totals can be found on the Lincoln County Clerk’s webpage at www.co.lincoln.or.us/clerk — click on “May 19, 2020 Primary Election.”
More election results will appear in a follow-up article in Friday’s edition.