Who’s on the ballot for 2024 Marion, Polk county elections

Salem-area voters this year will select people to run local elections, enforce laws and oversee county operations.

The primary election is May 21, and the general election is November 5.

Some county officials will be elected in May, while others, including sheriffs and Marion County Clerk, likely won’t be settled until November.

Here’s a guide to who’s running for Marion and Polk county offices and judge positions. For a list of people seeking city of Salem offices, view our coverage here.

Marion County positions

County elected officials work full-time and receive a salary from the county. County positions are four-year terms.

Commissioner, Position 3

The seat is partisan, and voters in May will decide on a candidate to represent their political party.

Commissioner Danielle Bethell has filed to run as a Republican. No one has filed to oppose her for the Republican nomination. Bethell was elected to the position in 2020.

Nobody has filed seeking the seat as a Democrat, or for any other political party. The winner of each party’s primary goes on to the general election in November.

Sheriff – Elected in November

Marion County Sheriff Nick Hunter, who was appointed in June 2023, is seeking election. Hunter has worked with the sheriff’s office for 15 years, and completed the term of former Joe Kast who retired before his term ended.

Deputy Sheriff Stacy Rejaian has also filed to run for the position. She was among the seven candidates who applied for the job following Kast’s retirement. She’s also the principal broker and owner at Olympic Reality, according to her application.

Both candidates will appear on the November ballot only.


Marion County Assessor Tom Rohlfing is running unopposed. The position evaluates all properties in the county including commercial, industrial, residential, farms, forests and more. The department also maintains records on property taxes and manages exemption programs.

If Rohlfing earns more than half the votes cast in the May primary, he is elected.

County clerk

Three people have filed to run for Marion County Clerk. The position manages elections, licensing and the county’s records. 

Those who have filed include incumbent Bill Burgess, Jo Anne Lepley and Anna Munson. Burgess has been the county clerk since 2005. Lepley is the current county deputy clerk for elections. Munson is retired and has previously worked in the county elections office.

Voters will select between the three candidates in the May primary. If one candidate earns 50% +1 of votes cast, only that candidate will advance to the November general election. If no candidate wins a majority of votes, the top two advance.

Polk County positions

County positions are four years, and elected officials receive a salary or stipend from the county.

Commissioner, Position 1

Polk County’s commissioners are nonpartisan.

Incumbent Lyle Mordhorst, a retired former manager at Les Schwab Tires, has filed to run for reelection. He was appointed to the Board of Commissioners in January 2019 and lives in unincorporated Polk County near Bethel, according to his campaign filing.

Roxanne Beltz of Monmouth has filed to run against Mordhorst. She is the former transportation operations program coordinator at Cherriots and a Monmouth City Councilor.

If either candidate receives more than half the votes cast in the May election, that candidate is elected commissioner.

Sheriff – Elected in November

Sheriff Mark Garton is running for reelection against Steve Warden, the emergency services chief for the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde.

Under state law, both candidates will appear on the November ballot only.

Treasurer – Elected in November

Current Treasurer Steve Milligan is seeking reelection. Milligan was elected in 2020 and is currently suing Polk County, saying the county bars him from actually doing the treasurer’s job.

Chris Patoine, current chair of the Polk County Planning Commission, has filed to run.

Under state law, both Milligan and Patoine will appear on the November ballot only.

Other Polk County offices

Polk County Assessor Valerie Patoine is running for reelection unopposed. Her name will appear on the May ballot, and if she receives at least half of all votes cast plus one, she wins reelection.

Polk County Clerk Kim Williams is running for reelection unopposed. She will appear on the November ballot only.

Judge positions

Two Marion County Circuit Court judges are seeking reelection with no opponents, while the court’s Position 11 race has four people seeking the seat.

Judge Lindsay R Partridge is seeking reelection for Position 10, and Judge Courtland Geyer is seeking reelection to Position 12.

For Position 11, the four candidates are:

  • David Carlson, a Marion County attorney who has focused on civil issues, including probate, guardianships and property issues, according to his campaign website
  • Martin C Habekost, a Marion County attorney who has handled a “diverse range of cases,” according to his campaign website
  • Matthew Tracey, a former Marion County public defender and current pro tem judge for Marion County Circuit Court
  • Michelle Vlach-Ing, a Salem attorney and mediator who serves as a pro tem judge for the Salem Municipal Court

The two candidates who earn the most votes in the May primary will advance to the November general election.

In Polk County, two circuit court judges are running unopposed for reelection. Judge Rafael Caso has filed to run for position 1, and Presiding Judge Norman Hill has filed for position 3.

Contact reporter Rachel Alexander: [email protected] or 503-575-1241. Contact reporter Abbey McDonald: [email protected] or 503-704-0355.

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Rachel Alexander is Salem Reporter’s managing editor. She joined Salem Reporter when it was founded in 2018 and covers city news, education, nonprofits and a little bit of everything else. She’s been a journalist in Oregon and Washington for a decade. Outside of work, she’s a skater and board member with Salem’s Cherry City Roller Derby and can often be found with her nose buried in a book.

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Abbey McDonald joined the Salem Reporter in 2022. She previously worked as the business reporter at The Astorian, where she covered labor issues, health care and social services. A University of Oregon grad, she has also reported for the Malheur Enterprise, The News-Review and Willamette Week.