Election Update

Some races are settled in the May 16 special district election, others not so much

Between vote by mail and close races the winners in the May 16 special election are not truly definitive until the election is certified, June 12. However some races were won so handily that the results are clear.

For a full listing of all results in every race go to the Elections webpage and click Lane County Elections Results. 

One race that is up in the air — in more ways than one — is the election to replace former Ward 7 City Councilor Claire Syrett, who was recalled in fall 2022. 

Recently appointed Ward 7 incumbent Lyndsie Leech sits at 48 percent of the vote as of the results Lane County Elections posted at 11 pm May 16. She leads Barbie Walker 1,489 to 1,008, with Janet Ayres trailing with 599 votes. While the city says the winner needs more than 50 percent of the vote to avoid a November runoff, Lane County Elections tells Eugene Weekly that the office was not expecting to hold a fall runoff. State law on special elections is complicated but appears to give the win to the candidate getting the most votes.

Lane County Clerk Dena Dawson said her office pulled the city’s charter, “and it does appear that the winner needs a majority of all votes cast but it doesn’t state what happens if that doesn’t happen.” She is reaching out to the city for what the next steps will be. The city attorney tells The Register-Guard  that a candidate needs more than 50 percent “of the votes cast during this special election to be sworn in July 1 and serve the remainder of recalled council member Claire Syrett’s term until January 2025, per Eugene Charter sections 19 and 24.”

And that if “no candidate receives more than half of the votes cast, a November run-off election will be held between the two top vote-getters and the winner will be sworn in January 2024. Leech, who the council appointed to temporarily fill the seat, will remain in the position until a winner is elected.”

As to races whose results are more concrete, the Lane County Jail Levy passed with about 80 percent of voters in favor, and the Eugene Parks Levy likewise won, with 66 percent of voters saying “yes.”

One of the most contentious races in the May 16 special election was the one for 4J School Board position 4. Incumbent Gordon Lafer faced challenger Rick Hamilton. That race looks settled with Hamilton ahead of Lafer by almost 6,000 votes. Hamilton tells EW in an emailed statement (he was out removing his lawn signs) that he is “grateful to the voters of the 4J school district for putting their faith in me,” and thanks “Gordon Lafer for his service to the district.”

He continues, “The campaign was harder than I’d anticipated, but also very rewarding. I met so many great people in the community who really care about schools,” and says he will work to give kids “the best possible education,” and “support our educators, our kids in special education who are not being served, and ALL of our students.” He finishes saying that he wants “the voters to know I will always listen to you and treat you with the respect that all people deserve.”

Also winners for 4J were Tom Di Liberto with 62 percent of the vote defeating dentist and “back the blue” champion Michael Bratland for position 1. Juan Carlos Valle, who dropped out of the race after the deadline for printing ballots had passed, still drew 13 percent.

Jenny Jonak won position 5 with 77 percent of the vote and Morgan Munro defeated Timothy Sutherland for position 7 with 75 percent of the vote.

In Bethel School District Position 3 it’s looking good for Curt Nordling at 51 percent to Leena Earnest’s 22 percent and Greg Nelson’s 27 percent. Position 4 Daniel (Drae) Charles got 56 percent of the vote to Erin Basinger’s 43 percent. For position 6 it’s Robin Zygaitis at 57 percent over Scott Chatham.

Voters in Springfield School District 19 elected two new members of the school board. Ken Kohl won election for Position 1 with 53 percent of the vote. His nearest opponent, Violet Olszyk, drew 36 percent. Other candidates were Geena Davis, 7 percent, and Heather Quaas-Annsa, 3 percent. Nicole De Graff won Position 4 with 52 percent; Anthony Reed drew 48 percent.

The Lane Community College Board of Directors Zone 1 race went to Denise Diamond, who was unopposed and drew nearly 98 percent of the vote. Zone 2 went to Zach Mulholland, with 58 percent, compared to Nick Skelton at 27 percent and Rich Cunningham at 15 percent. In Zone 5 Steve Mital was unopposed and drew 98 percent of the vote. Kevin Alltucker won Position 6 with 58 percent of the vote; his opponent Bob Baldwin drew 41 percent. Lisa Fragala won Position 7 with 82 percent; Kyle Reallon took 17 percent of the vote.