UMATILLA COUNTY — Dan Dorran is set to become the next Umatilla County Commissioner after defeating HollyJo Beers, with roughly 45% of the vote to 35%, according to unofficial results as of noon on Wednesday, Nov. 4.
“I was very humbled,” Dorran said of the results, which he watched be revealed at a small gathering with his family. “It was just an incredible moment.”
Dorran, a Hermiston resident and longtime member of the Umatilla County Fair Board, received 14,822 of the 32,864 votes cast in Umatilla County. That compared to the 11,594 votes cast for Beers, a Milton-Freewater resident and local leader of the Three Percenters.
Though she was still waiting for results to become official, Beers told the East Oregonian on Nov. 3 that she felt her first county-wide campaign was a success either way.
“Even if he ends up beating me, I am still very proud of the number of people who stood behind me,” she said. “I think it was a great showing for my first time out.”
Dorran complimented Beers on a hard-fought campaign and said on Nov. 4 that the margin of victory actually ended up being larger than expected.
“HollyJo was a strong competitor,” he said. “We wish her the very best in the future.”
While Dorran felt comfortable with the nearly 15,000 votes cast for him in the race, there were more than 5,000 voters who didn’t weigh in on the race at all, accounting for more than 16% of all Umatilla County voters.
Roughly another 3%, or just over 800 votes, also went to write-in candidates. Pat Maier, a Hermiston businesswoman, launched a write-in campaign in September after she finished third in the May primary.
During his campaign, Dorran often billed himself as a “day one commissioner” who could enter the office and get right to work on a three-legged platform focused on economic development, improving local transportation and infrastructure, and creating a more livable county.
Currently employed in sales and operations with the Swedish multinational engineering company Dynapac, Dorran said the coming weeks will be used to fully transition into the office and retiring after a 35-year career in the construction and construction equipment industry.
“I feel like I’m up to speed, but not full speed by any means,” he said.
That transition began Nov. 4, as Dorran made an appearance at the Umatilla County Board of Commissioners meeting in Pendleton and had a scheduled meeting with outgoing Commissioner Bill Elfering, who is retiring from the position.
Elfering said that he looks forward to helping Dorran prepare for the transition into the seat with what’s left of his now “lame duck” term. Dorran’s new colleagues on the board also took time to congratulate him for his victory after the Nov. 4 meeting.
“I know what a process it is, so congrats,” Umatilla County Commissioner John Shafer said. “I’m looking forward to working with you.”
In addition to battling an unorthodox campaign season due to the coronavirus pandemic this year, Dorran also had to overcome what he called a “self-inflicted wound” after he was arrested for driving drunk in September following a two-vehicle crash outside of Umatilla.
Online court records made available Nov. 2 show that Dorran is being charged with driving under the influence of intoxicants, reckless driving, recklessly endangering another person and refusing to take a test for intoxicants. He’s scheduled to appear for arraignment on Nov. 23, according to court records.
“It was a foolish mistake and I own it,” he said. “I need to earn that trust back.”
Ultimately, Dorran said he believes Umatilla County voters were receptive of his optimistic vision for the future of the community that he plans to work toward for the next four years once his term officially begins in January 2021.
“It’s going to be a wonderful and challenging experience, and I’m looking forward to it,” he said.