Vlach-Ing, Carlson lead in judge race; Bill Burgess reelected clerk

Michelle Vlach-Ing and David Carlson are ahead in the four-person race for Marion County Circuit Court judge Position 11. Bill Burgess won reelection as Marion County clerk. The incumbent Lyle Mordhorst is ahead of challenger Roxanne Beltz in the race for Position 1 on the Polk County Board of Commissioners but hasn’t received the majority of votes as well over 1,000 ballots remain uncounted.

Michelle Vlach-Ing, a criminal defense attorney, parenting time coordinator and pro tem judge for the city of Salem, is ahead in the four-person race to fill the seat left by retiring Marion County Circuit Court Judge Donald Abar.

A vote tally Tuesday night had Vlach-Ing leading with 7,331 votes, 32.7%, as of 8 p.m.

Behind her in the race is David Carlson, a Salem attorney for three decades focused on wills, trusts, probate and guardianship, with 5,453 votes, 24.4%.

Unless one candidate wins more than half of the vote, the top two will advance to the November general election.

Also seeking the seat are Martin Habekost, a longtime criminal defense attorney in Salem, and Matthew Tracey, a Marion County Circuit pro tem judge and hearings referee.

The winner will take office on Jan. 6, 2025.

A circuit judge in Oregon is a nonpartisan position for which there is rarely a contested race. The position has a six-year term. The annual salary for the seat is currently $197,800.

Marion County clerk re-elected

Marion County Clerk Bill Burgess won reelection to a sixth term, with 65.9% of the vote Tuesday night.

He’ll be the only candidate listed on the November ballot, defeating challengers Anna Munson, a retired medical worker, and Jo Anne Lepley, a deputy elections clerk.

The county clerk is nonpartisan and elected to a four-year term with a salary of $127,296. In addition to running elections, the clerk processes marriage licenses, records deeds and oversees the county’s board of tax appeals.

Burgess has been Marion County’s clerk since 2005. He is a pharmacist by education and said his years working in retail pharmacy inspired his passion for customer service which he brings to the clerk’s office.

His next term will begin Jan. 6, 2025.

Polk County commission

In the race for Position 1 on the Polk County Board of Commissioners, early figures show the incumbent Lyle Mordhorst prevailing over challenger Roxanne Beltz, a Monmmouth city councilor.

Counts as of 8 p.m. had Mordhorst ahead with 7,546 votes, 48%, to Beltz’ 6,418 votes, 40.1%.

There are still well over 1,000 ballots to count, according to Polk County Clerk Kim Williams.

If one candidate receives more than half of votes cast, they will win without moving on to the November election. Otherwise, both will continue to the November ballot.

Polk County commissioners are nonpartisan and serve a four-year term. They are paid a salary of about $83,000.

The elected commissioner’s term would start on Jan. 6, 2025.

Non-competitive races

Marion County Commissioner Danielle Bethell, a Republican, was the only candidate who filed for Position 3 on the Board of Commissioners. Former Salem City Councilor Jackie Leung recently mounted a write-in campaign for the Democratic nomination, but votes for write-in candidates are not counted on election night because they. No Democrat filed for the position.

Incumbents who are running unopposed and will get another term:

  • Marion County Circuit Court Judges Daniel Wren, Natasha Zimmerman, Lindsay Partridge and Courtland Geyer.
  • Marion County Assessor Tom Rohlfing
  • Polk County Circuit Judges Rafael Caso and Norman Hill.
  • Polk County District Attorney Aaron Felton
  • Polk County Assessor Valerie Patoine

Contact Keizertimes Staff:
[email protected] or 503-390-1051

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