Early election results in Columbia County, Ore., delivered some expected results Tuesday evening, along with some surprises.
In a county known for strong Second Amendment support, gun-friendly Measure 5-270 was passing by only by a few hundred votes. The measure had 5,556 votes in favor, or 52.5 percent, to 5,036 votes against, or 47.5 percent.
The measure would prohibit the county from passing any laws that limit or restrict “the right to keep and bear arms,” in accordance with both the U.S. and Oregon constitutions. The measure would also make it illegal for the county to limit gun ownership through registration, use or ownership of firearms, including semi-automatic firearms, and includes firearms parts, such as magazines, ammunition, grips, bayonet mounts, flash suppressors and other items.
In the three-way race for Columbia County sheriff, County Sheriff’s Lt. Brian Pixley led with 4,800 votes, or 43.8 percent of the votes counted. Candidates James Gordon and Dave Brown received 1,114 votes and 3,896 votes, respectively.
“It was just what I was hoping for,” Pixley said said of the results Tuesday night. “I was really excited to see the results.”
The winner of the three-ways sheriff’s race will serve a four-year term through 2022, which includes the remainder of Sheriff Jeff Dickerson's term left open by his retirement in June.
One other measure on the ballot — to ban marijuana trade in Clatskanie — was failing narrowly. Measure 5-271 had just 217 votes in favor and 229 votes against.
The measure would bar the city from allowing medical marijuana processing sites and dispensaries and recreational marijuana producers, processors, wholesalers, and retailers within city limits. If passed, the city of Clatskanie would be ineligible to receive a share of state marijuana tax revenues and would be prohibited from imposing a local tax or fee on the production, processing, or sale of marijuana or any product into which marijuana has been incorporated.
Columbia County voter turnout lagged behind that of Cowlitz County.
Of the county’s 37,611 registered voters, just over 29 percent — or 10,967 votes — have cast ballots. In Oregon, ballots must be received by the elections no later than 8 p.m. on election day, unlike Washington where ballots had to be postmarked by Nov. 6. Cowlitz elections officials are projecting a turnout of 70 percent or more.
Columbia County election officials are expected to update results late Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning. Check TDN.com for updates.