Election 2020

Voters cast their ballots at a ballot drop box in Hermiston on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020.

HERMISTON — David McCarthy will be losing his position on the Hermiston City Council, according to unofficial election results, but he has shot at remaining on the council by being appointed to a different seat.

As of 12:55 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 4, results showed McCarthy at the bottom of a tight five-person race for four at-large seats on the council, with 18.69% of the vote.

However, in addition to the four at-large positions up for election, the Hermiston City Council has four positions that represent specific wards of the city. The seat for Ward IV — where McCarthy resides — was recently vacated by Doug Smith, and the council intends to appoint an interim councilor before the seat is filled by a special election in March 2021. Reached on election night, McCarthy said he had already turned in paperwork to apply for appointment to Smith’s seat.

“I’m hopeful,” he said of his chances at being appointed.

In first place in the five-way race was incumbent Doug Primmer, with 20.66% of the vote. Primmer said he took that lead as a sign that people trusted him to represent their interest on the council.

“I don’t rule; I serve,” he said. “I’ve never viewed myself in any other manner. I’m here to serve the people and I appreciate their trust in me.”

This will be Primmer’s third four-year term. He comes to the council from a background in law enforcement, and recently retired from a job with the Department of Corrections.

In second place was newcomer Maria Duron, with 20.88% of the vote. Duron, a family engagement specialist for Hermiston School District and former Hermiston School Board member, said Tuesday night that she mostly wanted to thank God, her family, and everyone who supported her during her campaign. She described people who helped her launch a “digital campaign” during the pandemic, put up yard signs and printed up flyers for her to hand out.

“It has been an incredible journey for me,” she said in a text message.

In third place was another newcomer to the council, Nancy Peterson, with 19.66% of the vote. Notified of the first round of election results Tuesday night, the accessibility specialist for Columbia Basin College said she was thrilled to be doing so well. She said she thought her success came from previous advocacy work in the community and by “dominating” Facebook during the campaign.

“This is fantastic. I’m thrilled with the honor, and we’ve got some work to do,” she said.

Rod Hardin, who has already served 28 years on the city council and is retired from a previous career as principal of Hermiston Christian School, was in fourth after the initial results came in, with 19.19% of the vote. He said serving on the council has been a pleasure, that he loves Hermiston and that he wants to continue serving the community.

“I’ve really enjoyed it all these years,” he said.

He said the coming term would likely be his “last hurrah” on the council.

The race was a relatively competitive one, with just over 300 votes separating first and fifth place. The winners will be sworn in for four-year terms during the first city council meeting in January, joining sitting councilors Jackie Myers, Lori Davis, Roy Barron and whoever is appointed to the Ward IV seat.

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