MORROW COUNTY — Morrow County voters seemingly gave incumbents a seal of approval on Election Night, with unofficial results as of noon on Wednesday, Nov. 4, indicating that three incumbents are headed back to office for another term.

In his first bid for reelection, Jim Doherty defeated challenger Joel Peterson by over a thousand votes and a margin of roughly 61%-39%.

“I just hope I can live up to that over the next four years,” Doherty said of the resounding margin. “It just really drives you forward.”

Doherty, a Boardman cattle rancher and first-term member of the Morrow County Board of Commissioners, said he’s found a passion for serving on the board and is aiming to continue his work representing each of the county’s various communities.

“I don’t really have an agenda to carry forward, I just want to kind of keep my ear to the ground and listen to what the folks wants,” Doherty said.

Of the 4,753 votes cast in the race, Doherty held an advantage of 2,899 votes to 1,848 for Peterson.

Peterson, a farmer from Ione who was previously elected to the Ione School Board and appointed to the Morrow County Planning Commission, forced a runoff with Doherty after receiving 38.25% of the primary vote in May.

Peterson could not be reached prior to deadline on Nov. 4.

Voters elect Matlack to fifth term as sheriff

HEPPNER — Morrow County Sheriff Ken Matlack is headed back for a fifth four-year term after receiving roughly 60% of the vote against challenger Mark Pratt.

“I’m relieved that it appears that the citizens of Morrow County are supportive of me,” Matlack said. “I’m just really happy that I can continue on.”

Pratt, a former sheriff’s deputy who is now a sergeant with the Boardman Police Department, had run his campaign on bringing a new leadership style to the sheriff’s office that would include restructuring and refocusing some of its resources.

Already in his 16th year as the county sheriff, Matlack said the election results gave him a sense of approval for the job he’s done so far and that he plans to continue his work trying to address issues with limited mental health resources and drug addiction.

Diehl, Papineau win other contested races

HEPPNER — After advancing to the general election by a margin of just 16 votes over the primary’s third-place finisher, Jaylene Papineau opened with a significant lead of 61.59%-37.92% over SaBrina Bailey Cove to be the Morrow County’s next treasurer.

Bailey Cove, a county accounting clerk from Ione, finished first in the primary with 30.6% of the vote at the time.

Unofficial results have the county’s Justice of the Peace position as the tightest race, with incumbent Glen Diehl of Heppner leading with 52.28% of the vote. Theresa Crawford, also of Heppner, was trailing at 47.67%.

Just fewer than 200 votes currently separate the two candidates, with Diehl receiving 2,393 total votes to 2,182 for Crawford.

Diehl, who was appointed to the position by Gov. Kate Brown at the beginning of 2020, finished first in the May primary with approximately 42.2% of the vote. But Crawford, a chief deputy clerk with the county, triggered a runoff with roughly 39.7% of the vote. 

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