Eugene’s newly elected mayor Kaarin Knudson. Photo by Todd Cooper.

It’s a Landslide: Knudson’s In, STAR Voting and Ems Stadium Are Out 

Election night in Lane County was a sweep for blue voters

By Emerson Brady, Bentley Freeman and Faheem Khan

A primary election with sweeps across the board. Classic. 

As of 11 pm Tuesday, May 21, 75,784 ballots were cast, making up 27 percent of voter turnout in Lane County. This is staggeringly low compared to the 2020 presidential primary that also led to a Joe Biden v. Donald Trump showdown, which totaled 47 percent of voter turnout. 

Dropping off her ballot at the Lane County Elections on election night, eight-year Lane County resident Trisha Berg tells Eugene Weekly that she isn’t excited to cast her vote and doesn’t think she’s ever been excited to, but “at least it gives you a choice” in the democratic process. 

Another longtime resident, Emily McKenzie says they’re disappointed in the low voter turnout this primary, but that it’s also not very surprising. “It’s their choice,” they say. “I totally get it. It’s discouraging.”

Ballots will be counted for the next three weeks. Dena Dawson, Lane County clerk, says that postmarked ballots can show up for seven days after the election, and ballots needing to be re-signed after failing signature verification can be turned in for three weeks.

While election results will not be officially certified until June 17, here are some highlights from the May 21 primary.

More than 67.55 percent of currently counted and tallied ballots say no to a new multi-use Ems baseball stadium. “We’re gonna have to regroup and meet with MLB to see what the next steps are,” Ems General Manager Allan Benavides says. The Emeralds have said that without the $15 million a bond would have brought in, the minor league baseball team might have to leave Eugene. 

In Eugene City Council’s Ward 1, Eliza Kashinsky is winning the downtown-area seat with 2,478 votes — 66.94 percent — defeating retired academic Ted Coopman and business owner Ethan Clevenger.  

Over in Ward 7, which includes River Road and the Whit, Lyndsie Leech, who was first appointed to replace recalled City Councilor Claire Syrett in December 2022, secures her seat over local bar owner Barbie Walker for the second time, with 66.29 percent of the vote.

Incumbent Matt Keating receives 3,998 votes — 72 percent — to handily defeat challenger Lisa Warnes, and is re-elected for Eugene City Council Ward 2. Keating tells Eugene Weekly he cannot wait to work with the newly elected mayor Kaarin Knudson, adding, “Kaarin is the first Gen X mayor in the city of Eugene’s history.” 

Knudson took 23,819 votes, or 74 percent, and she says that she is most excited about the “breadth and depth of support for this campaign” and “just knowing that there’s so much agreement about the direction we’re going and issues we need to work on.”

While Eugene says “no” to a bond measure for Ems Stadium, 75 percent of voters say “yes” to the 4J levy renewal in a win for public education. Eugene voters were also not enthused by STAR Voting, with 68.3 percent of Eugeneans saying no to the proposal for a new voting system where the voters rate candidates on a scale from zero to five. 

At the county level, incumbent Lane County Commissioner Pat Farr held his seat over his challenger, Lane Community College board member Zach Mullholland, for the north Eugene position, and fellow incumbent Laurie Trieger easily staved off Grace Widdicombe, with more than 80 percent of the vote.

In the election for Lane County district attorney, Chief Deputy DA Chris Parosa defeated James Cleavenger, an Oakridge city administrator and police officer who has had allegations levied against him of sexual assault.

Another highly fought race saw another LCC board member, Lisa Fragala, versus Doyle Canning as they sought the House District 8 seat in the Oregon Legislature, replacing Rep. Holvey, who is retiring from his longtime position. It looks like Fragala will win with 74.96 percent of the vote over Canning as of press time. Canning conceded defeat in a statement Tuesday night, saying, “I have called my opponent and offered my congratulations.”  

With more than 77.47 percent of the votes, Oregon state Rep. Dan Rayfield is projected to be the Democratic nominee for state attorney general. “I’m incredibly grateful and honored by the support of so many Oregonians today,” Rayfield writes in a press release. “This election has been a great opportunity to talk with people in communities across the state about our shared values and the most important priorities for the next attorney general.” 

Rayfield will face the Republican hopeful, Will Lathrop, in November for the top-cop job.

The incumbent state congresswoman Val Hoyle had no opponent in the Democratic primary, while Monique DeSpain won over 60 percent of the vote, likely becoming the Republican nominee for that seat.

In the Oregon secretary of state race, Democratic hopeful Tobias Read clinches the primary win with over 62.41 percent of the vote, while transphobic Republican state Sen. Dennis Linthicum will likely win his party’s nomination with 62 percent. Oregon’s secretary of state is next in line to be governor in the event something happened to Tina Kotek or she had to step down.

You can see all of the election results by Googling Lane County Elections. Check out EW’s election night coverage videos on Instagram and Facebook.

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