Chris Hoy, right, remains ahead of Chane Griggs, left, in the race for Salem mayor (Photos by Laura Tesler/Special to Salem Reporter)

Chris Hoy remains in the lead to be Salem’s next mayor after local election workers processed tens of thousands more ballots Wednesday.

Following updated counts from Marion and Polk counties Wednesday afternoon, Hoy, 56, the city council president, had 13,950 votes, 55.48% of the total. His opponent, planning commission chair Chane Griggs, 67, had 11,195, or 45.52%.

Other city council races had the same candidates in the lead Wednesday, with Dynee Medlock in ward 4, Julie Hoy (no relation to Chris Hoy) in ward 6 and Micki Varney in ward 8 ahead.

Marion County has now tallied 55,190 ballots of about 70,000 that were returned to the office by early Wednesday morning, county clerk Bill Burgess said. A few thousand more arrived in the mail Wednesday, and more could trickle in thanks to a change in Oregon law allowing ballots to be counted if they’re postmarked by election day.

Polk County has tallied 20,616 ballots as of Wednesday late afternoon, up from 18,084 on election night.

Because city races are nonpartisan, they’re typically settled during the May primary rather than in November. If one candidate gets at least 50% plus one of all votes cast, only that candidate’s name appears on the November ballot. While a write-in candidate could in theory be elected, successful write-in campaigns are rare.

The mayoral race to succeed Chuck Bennett, who is retiring at the end of his third term, drew tens of thousands of dollars in contributions.

Griggs drew major financial support from real estate and business groups as well as the city’s police and firefighter unions.

Hoy was backed by unions representing many state and most other city employees, as well as fellow progressive Democrats on the city council.

As of Tuesday, Hoy raised $43,308 in cash and $7,641 in in-kind contributions and spent $23,346, according to state campaign finance records.

Griggs raised $130,610 in cash and $1,842 in-kind and spent $109,409.

Hoy throughout his campaign touted his experience as a city councilor, first elected in 2017, and his year serving as a state representative after being appointed in December to finish out Rep. Brian Clem’s term.

Griggs told Salem Reporter Wednesday afternoon she hadn’t yet seen the updated numbers but didn’t plan to concede until more votes were counted, echoing her comments Tuesday night after initial returns.

“At the end of the day it’s going to be what the voters decide who they want to be their mayor and I’ll be supportive of that choice,” she told Salem Reporter Tuesday.

In city council races, Medlock, a network specialist, had 1,914 votes, or 50.65%, to real estate broker Deanna Gwyn’s 1,865, or 49.35% in the ward 4 race. The two women are running for the seat currently held by city Councilor Jackie Leung, who was running for an Oregon House seat before suspending her campaign in April because of a personal health issue.

Julie Hoy, a singer and the owner of Geppetto’s Italian Restaurant, had 883 votes, or 54% in the ward 6 race over Stacey Vieyra-Braendle, an occupational therapist, who had 752 votes, or 46%. That seat is currently held by Chris Hoy.

For west Salem’s ward 8, salmon biologist Micki Varney was leading IT business owner Chris Cummings with 2,420 votes, 51.9%, to 2,245 votes, 48.1%.

Varney was appointed to the council March 21 after Councilor Jim Lewis resigned to spend more time with his family. Cummings also applied to replace him.

View the city results below.

View results for city races below.

Contact reporter Rachel Alexander: [email protected] or 503-575-1241.

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