By Don Iler • News Editor • 

Candidates cash in on geographical roots

That was especially noticeable in the race for Yamhill County sheriff, where forest patrol deputy Tim Casey ran away with Newberg and Dundee, winning clear majorities in all Newberg-Dundee precincts. Capt. Tim Svenson outpolled Casey by amassing votes in McMinnville, Lafayette, Dayton and Amity, where he came out on top in all precincts.

Patrol Sgt. Joe Shipley claimed victory on his home turf in Yamhill-Carlton, winning enough votes to prevent Svenson from claiming the prize in the primary. As a result, he faces a runoff with Casey in November.

Sal Peralta, who led the field for commissioner position one, but was also forced into a runoff, performing best on his home turf in McMinnville. The News-Register and Digital Media Publishing sales rep, and former secretary of the Independent Party of Oregon, placed first in the McMinnville precints and second virtually everywhere else.

He ended up with about one-third of the votes overall.

Stan Primozich, a local investment adviser and longtime McMinnville school board member, edged out two rivals to claim second place and the other November runoff spot. He did not prevail in any precinct, but performed best in McMinnville and environs.

He had second-place showings in Amity and Dayton and ended up claiming just over 22 percent of the vote.

Brett Veatch, a Newberg real estate agent, finished first in Newberg precincts, but his support was substantially thinner elsewhere in the county. Willamina resident Bill Willis ran strongly in the West Valley, winning precincts in Willamina and Sheridan, but also faded elsewhere. And Primozich was ultimately able to slip past them.

County commissioner position three was won outright by Mary Starrett with just over 51 percent of the vote.

Debra Bridges, a Dundee resident who works in the district attorney’s office in McMinnville, won two McMinnville precincts. Starrett, who makes her home on Parrett Mountain, near Newberg, claimed virtually all of the rest.

Yamhill and Carlton, where a school bond was on the ballot, led in turnout with a little more than 55 percent. McMinnville’s Precinct 14 edged out Newberg’s Precinct 2 for the worst showing, coming in just under 32 percent.


Don Dix

How sad is this story? Geographical origin of the candidate is the over-riding factor when deciding for whom one will vote. Absurd as it is, that seems to be the case! And some wonder why government has trouble functioning properly!


I think you are missing the point of this, Don. The thrust of he story was simply to demonstrate the correlation between the geographic connections of voters and candidates. I don't think there is nearly enough information here to draw the kind of conclusions you're positing.

People complained for years that all of the county commissioners came from McMinnville. The idea of a home rule charter, with commissioners elected by geographic districts, is a popular one with lots of folks. People naturally think that someone from their own community will have their best interests at heart; at least they would be more likely to than somebody from the other side of the county.

I think it is too early to conclude that, "Geographical origin of the candidate is the over-riding factor when deciding for whom one will vote." That certainly would be absurd.

Don Dix

My position on this: if voters are casting ballots based on geographical origins of the particular candidates (which is plainly evident in this article),the elections are more about popularity (or familiarity). When qualifications, experience,and readiness for office take a back seat to those shallow-minded options, nobody really wins, do they?


It is not at all clear that fitness for office did take a back seat to geographical origin. I believe every one of the eight candidates for county commissioner met your litmus test of "qualifications, experience,and readiness for office". Although, to paraphrase George Orwell, some were more ready than others.

Unless a candidate is either: clearly in over their head with the responsibilities to be entrusted to them; or so ideologically rigid that they alienate large groups of voters, the distinction between the candidates becomes very narrow. At that point, many voters simply choose the candidate most closely aligned with their own community. I don't think that is shallow-minded at all.

Don Dix

I agree, some were definitely more ready in the commissioner races, and it was still a 'regional' vote. However, the sheriff race was all about region, and had very little to do with Who was best for the position. The distinctions were clearly evident. My statement that 'if' that was how voters were deciding on candidates, it was a shallow-minded approach to a decision that deserves considerably deeper thought. There may be a more PC way to put it, but I never cared much for the typical political, feel-good rhetoric-- it diminishes reality.


Most candidates try to speak in terms of black and white, while the reality is that the job deals with varying shades of gray. My hat is off to anyone who puts their name on the line and genuinely seeks to do the best job possible for the good of the citizens.

Don Dix

My experience concerning candidates is much different. Promise, promise, promise -- until elected -- then back to the personal ( party) agenda.

The voters' pamphlet doesn't check or verify statements or endorsements. That's problematic from the get-go, and some of our local candidates made great use of that situation. About the only black and white involved is the print and page.

When the next round begins, it will include forums or debates. It's a simple, yet effective way to ferret out the pretenders, providing the questions aren't of the softball variety.


Good one Don. "softball variety".


There isn't much room to assert "the personal (party) agenda" in local government, Don. Most of the work is managing and planning for the future. Party rhetoric doesn't really get much traction in the council chambers or board room. There are rare occassions when ideological stances can be staked, but that isn't the norm for the day-to-day business of running the county, or city hall.

I agree with Martin Luther, "I would rather be governed by a competent Turk than an incompetent Christian."

Don Dix

You might ask Mary Stern whether 'a personal/party agenda' ever clouded the business of the commissioners during her term! Non-partisan my a$$!


Good point Don, you might pose the same question in a year to the person who prevails in November. My guess is they will face an equal or even (heaven forbid) more clouded term.

Don Dix

Just imagine how much good work could be accomplished by elected officials without the 'party agenda' looming over every decision. The 'cause' should never be the first consideration, but sadly that's the never-ending situation.

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