By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes
Bill Post is defeating Chuck Lee in the battle for the state House District 25 seat.
Initial results from Tuesday night show Post with 4,649 votes (53.93 percent) compared to 3,727 votes (43.24 percent) for Lee in Marion County.
Overall, Post had 6,954 votes (54.36 percent) compared to 5,467 votes (42.73 percent) for Lee.
“It took so long for this to happen,” said Post, the radio talk show host who announced his intentions last December. “We worked so hard. Today I just said let it fall where it falls.”
Post gave kudos to his opponent.
“Chuck Lee is a really good, hard-working man,” Post said. “I learned from him.”
Lee, meanwhile, wasn’t ready to concede quite yet.
“We’re going to sit on it for the evening, see where we stand in the morning,” Lee said Tuesday night. “I just think there’s a huge Republican edge in this district.”
The two were battling to replace Kim Thatcher, who competed against Newberg City Councilor Ryan Howard for the state Senate District 13 seat.
Thatcher was leading that race with 15,222 votes (58.19 percent) in the initial count compared to 10,874 votes (41.57 percent) for Howard.
“I will miss the house, but I’m very honored to serve the people in the senate district,” Thatcher said. “I will keep working on the things that will make our state better, help our economy and help provide services.”
Howard accepted the defeat.
“I am disappointed that I didn’t come out victorious” he said. “Kim had quite a bit more money and the support in her house district. I knew it was an uphill battle. I gave it the old effort. I was hoping people would take more from the negative news that came out (about Thatcher).”
In Keizer, only one of four local council races was contested. Amy Ripp defeated Matt Chappell for the No. 5 seat with 4,079 votes (65.63 percent), compared to 2,078 votes (33.44 percent) for Chappell in the initial results.
“I’m honored to be able to continue to serve the community of Keizer in a new capacity,” Ripp said. “I’m excited to do that and to move forward. It’s going to be a new role. I have so much to learn. I’ll have great people surrounding me on council.”
Chappell wasn’t surprised by the results.
“I was expecting it all along,” he said. “After I collected the signatures to put my name on the ballot, I found out who I was running against and the endorsements. There are a few things I regret, like the letters I sent (to the paper). It wouldn’t have made a difference, but I wish I hadn’t gone there. Amy got in, so I send her a public congratulations on that.”
Cathy Clark won the mayor’s seat in an uncontested race, while Roland Herrera and Brandon Smith won Keizer City Council seats in similar fashion.
“I am very, very honored to be able to serve the people of Keizer on the council and now as mayor,” said Clark, who will take over the seat held by Lore Christopher since 2001. “I will be making sure what we do works. It’s a good day.”
Herrera, a former longtime city employee, looks forward to serving in a new way.
“I’m looking forward to working with the other councilors and the new mayor,” Herrera said. “I’m going to work hard and do the best I can. It’s plain and simple: I want to bring more people into the process and get more people engaged in their local government.”
Smith didn’t return messages seeking comment.
In statewide measure races, Measure 91 – the legalization of recreational marijuana – was comfortably ahead in initial results, garnering 57.42 percent yes compared to 42.58 percent no.
Measure 92, the GMO food labeling measure, was winning by a slight margin, with initial results showing 52.68 percent yes compared to 47.32 percent no.