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BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – Some High Desert incumbents easily fended off challengers as Central Oregon’s primary election results flowed in Tuesday night, but in one hot, high-profile race, appointed Jefferson County Sheriff Marc Heckathorn was losing to challenger Jason Pollock.
Heckathorn, the former undersheriff appointed to the post last year after Sheriff Jim Adkins retired, brought a third, low-profile candidate, Rick DuPont, into the race, dropping of his candidacy form and filing fee at the county clerk’s office, saying he did so to ensure the new sheriff could be chosen in May, not November.
But early results showed Pollock – who recently won a stunning endorsement from Adkins and DA Steve Leriche – had garnered about 52% of the ballots in Tuesday’s first returns, to 44% for Heckathorn and just under 4% for DuPont.
Deschutes County Commissioner Tony DeBone was easily defeating Republican challenger Scott Stuart, 78-22% in the initial count, likely to move on to a fall race with sole Democratic candidate Oliver Tatom.
Things were tighter in the three-way, non-partisan race for Jefferson County commissioner Position 1, with challenger Mark Wunsch topping incumbent Mae Huston, 38-35%, followed by Laurie Danzuka with 26%. If no one gets 50% of the vote, the top two finishers head to a November run-off.
In the other Jefferson County Commission race, incumbent Kelly Simmelink was handily defeating challenger Sabria Rios, 69-31% in the first round of ballot counting.
In Crook County, Commissioner Brian Barney was easily winning his re-election bid, with 72% of the early vote in the non-partisan race to 20% for challenger Corey Whalen and 8% for the second challenger, Doug Muck.
As for money measures sharing the ballot, Redmond’s $40 million bond to replace its small, aging police headquarters was passing 56-44%, while a similar, $7 million measure to upgrade Sunriver’s Public Safety Building was winning strongly in the early vote, 70-30%. And Cloverdale Rural Fire’s five-year local option tax to add needed staff also was passing easily, 68-32%
But the largest money measure facing Central Oregon voters on Tuesday, Crook County Schools’ $66 million bond measure for maintenance updates, upgrades and repairs, was losing by just 177 votes out of more than 6,000 tallied, 3,100 no votes to 2,923 in favor.