It was high stakes in the future of Lake County politics with two county commissioner seats up for grabs, but only one was decided, setting up a rematch in the November general election.
As per state election rules, in nonpartisan positions the top two vote recipients advance to the general election in November. In a race of two candidates or less, a simple majority plus one of the vote determines a winner for the position.
Preliminary results from the Lake County Clerk’s office posted Wednesday morning showed a flip in the results for Lake County Commissioner Position 2, which the state initially reported as Bruce Webbon carrying the majority vote by less than one percent Tuesday evening.
But county results indicated that James Williams had exceeded Webbon with almost 42 percent of the vote, 924-879. Both will advance to the November general election to determine who will take over the position currently held by Dan Shoun, who is retiring at the end of the current term.
Two candidates from northern Lake County, Charles Brown and Michael Stettler, did not gain enough of the majority vote to advance.
In the Position 3 Lake County Commissioner race, Mark Albertson tallied 1,362 votes, 58 percent of the vote, beating incumbent Ken Kestner by almost 400 votes. The margin of victory was enough to confirm Albertson as Lake County’s new Commissioner, pending election results validation by the State of Oregon.
Kestner had held the Lake County Commissioner seat since 2006 through three terms in office. A native of Arkansas, Kestner had been a strong advocate for education and expansion of broadband service to rural areas. He will continue to serve in the position through the end of the current term.
During Kestner’s tenure Lake County has expanded renewable energy projects, and, among other achievements, has approved a new biofuels facility to be built in Lakeview later this year.
The Red Rock Biofuels facility, a more than $300 million project, will convert forest bi-products into 15 million gallons of jet fuel annually, providing at least 30 jobs in the facility and 70-100 in materials collection and transportation.
The new position of Lake County Commissioner will be Albertson’s first foray into politics. A graduate of Lakeview High School and Oregon Institute of Technology, he currently works as a youth investment coordinator and has a background as a mill worker, truck driver, rancher, pastor and juvenile probation officer.
Also in the results, Darryl Anderson ran unopposed for county surveyor, as did Erika Hadlock for Position 9 Judge of the Court of Appeals.
All results in the Tuesday primary are considered preliminary until validated by the State of Oregon.