Primary elections — Commission race will continue into the fall between Peralta, Primozich

The race for two spots on the Yamhill County Board of Commissioners resulted in one apparent winner and one race that will be decided in a runoff next fall after preliminary ballot counts were released May 21.

Of the three hopefuls for Position 3, Mary Starrett earned 51 percent of the vote. Debra Bridges trailed with 37.24 percent and Marc Shelton finished a distant third with 11.59 percent.

Gale Jensen, Yamhill County chief deputy clerk, said should Starrett’s numbers hold she would be the outright winner under county election rules that require 50 percent plus one vote in the primary.Starrett

Although the clerk’s office has until June 10 to finalize the vote, the counts rarely waver significantly from what is determined in the first several days after the election.

Position 3 is currently held by Commissioner Mary Stern, who will vacate the office May 27 to take a post at the Association of Oregon Counties. The remaining members of the Board of Commissioners, Alan Springer and Kathy George, will be charged with appointing someone to complete Stern’s term, which runs until the end of the year. Springer and George can choose the standout candidate in the primary, in this case Starrett, or someone else.

“I think what happened was (my message) resonated with people,” Starrett said. “I think people are discouraged overall with government. I think people are discouraged and frustrated. I think what I did as a political outsider, someone who is a taxpayer who is also frustrated and discouraged, my message was maybe we can’t fix things in (Washington) D.C., and at the state level, but we sure can do it at the county level.”

She said she appreciated that voters took the time to research candidates and were an engaged electorate.

In the Position 1 race, Sal Peralta stood out from the other four candidates with 32.89 percent of the vote. While the margin between him and four other candidates was substantial, it was not enough to lock up the position outright and will require a runoff in the November general election.

“I think we just did a lot of work, had a great deal of outreach. I was very happy to have the support of so many volunteers making phone calls and knocking on doors. I think that made a difference,” Peralta said. “(But) I wish the overall turnout for the primary had been a little higher. You always want to maximize participation, but I’m very pleased with the results and am looking forward to a fun race going into November.”

If the numbers hold, Stan Primozich, who garnered 22.12 percent of the vote, would face Peralta in the fall for the Position 1 spot. The votes were tight between the remaining candidates for Position 1, with Brett Veatch earning 20.30 percent and Bill Willis following with 19.46 percent. David Russ received 5.01 percent of the vote.

Yamhill County has a little more than 51,000 registered voters; 21,100 (41.4 percent) participated in the primary.

To view the full preliminary results, visit

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