A ballot box on Tuesday, May 19. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)
Salem elected a stay-at-home mom, an emergency room doctor and a lawyer to represent Salem’s various wards, according to the most recent election results.
There were five seats up for grabs on Salem's council, with candidates spending close to $200,000 this year. Three faces will be completely new in council chambers, and one appointee has been elected to a seat.
Only one race saw an incumbent elected. Mayor Chuck Bennett, who was handily reelected on Tuesday, said Salem voted for the status quo.
“Essentially the makeup of the council is fairly unchanged in terms of the kinds of issues that interest councilors. I don’t see anyone wildly new and different,” he said.
He pointed to a proposal to build a third bridge across the Willamette River, which councilors voted down in a 6-3 vote last year.
Many of the candidates who identified the Salem River Crossing as a priority of their candidacy didn’t win election.
Bennett said future councilors have expressed interest in a third bridge, but he expects many of the same hurdles as the last go-around.
“To say it is one thing, to actually deliver is another. I’ll believe it when I see it on the third bridge,” he said.
Bennett took the lead in both Marion and Polk counties for election to a third term. In Marion County Bennett got 64% of the vote with 22,988 votes cast. His opponent, Brooke Jackson, got 35% of the vote.
Bennett also took the lead in Polk County with 55% of the vote.
Jose Gonzalez, a real estate broker, will be the biggest change on the council as it’s been decades since Salem had a Latino council member, Bennett said.
Gonzalez took a narrow lead in the latest results posted Wednesday morning, showing he was up by 18 votes. He received 50.5% of the vote while his opponent, community college instructor Hollie Oakes-Miller with 49.5% in the race to represent north Salem’s Ward 5.
Marion County Clerk Bill Burgess said that race is too close to call and his office still has more than 1,000 ballots to count. He said final results could be two to three weeks away.
The biggest upset of the night was in the race to represent southeast Salem’s Ward 3.
Brad Nanke, who has been on the council for nearly two decades, conceded to his newcomer opponent Trevor Phillips Tuesday night. Phillips, an emergency room doctor at Salem Health, had never run for office before.
Phillips got 57% of the vote, while Nanke received 42%.
To represent the ward that encompasses downtown and a portion of west Salem, stay-at-home mom Virginia Stapleton took the lead with 1,506 votes or 58%.
Her opponent, IT manager Jan Kailuweit, got 1,060 votes or 41% of the vote in Marion County.
In Polk County, Kailuweit took the lead with 54% of the vote, 465 votes, while Stapleton had 44%, 382 votes.
In south Salem, Reid Sund lost to Vanessa Nordyke Tuesday night.
Nordyke, a lawyer with the state Department of Justice, garnered 58% of the vote. She was appointed to her current council seat following the resignation of Sally Cook last fall.
Sund, a finance director at Salem Health, got 41%.
The Ward 7 race was by far the costliest, with Sund spending more than $70,000 in the election. Nordyke spent nearly $20,000.
A levy that would have helped Marion County Fire District No. 1 pay for firefighters and equipment failed Tuesday night with 54% of voters saying “no.”
In Marion County, Democrat Ashley Carson Cottingham will face Republican Danielle Bethell in November for the commissioner seat left by Sam Brentano.
Carson Cottingham got 74% of the vote for the Democratic nomination, while her opponent Dan Norton got 25%.
In Polk County, the top two vote-getters in the commissioner race will face each other in the November election.
Lyle Mordhorst received 9,851 votes or 40%, while Danny Jaffer got 8,750 votes or 39%.
For House District 20, which includes west Salem and part of Polk County, retired dentist Selma Pierce received 1,015 votes, 57% of the vote, for the Republican nomination.
Her opponent Kevin Chambers got 744 votes, 42%.
Pierce will face current representative Paul Evans in November.
Jackie Leung, a current Salem city councilor and interim executive director of the Micronesian Islander Community, won the Democratic nomination for House District 19 with 64% of the vote.
Leung will run against Republican Raquel Moore-Green in November to represent the district circling east Salem.
Deb Patterson, a congregational minister with a background in healthcare advocacy, will run against Denyc Boles in the general election for state senator in District 10 which includes south Salem, west Salem, Independence and Monmouth.
Patterson won the Democratic nomination with 91% of the vote, according to early results.
Have a tip? Contact reporter Saphara Harrell at 503-549-6250, [email protected] or @daisysaphara.