Linn County and Benton County have certified their votes from the Nov. 3 election. There are no lawsuits or recounts in sight, but the totals do yield some interesting nuggets about how the mid-valley voted in 2020.
Here is a look at some highlights from a precinct-by-precinct analysis of the final returns:
Democratic President-elect Joe Biden won handily in Benton County, capturing 19 of the 23 precincts on the way to a 67.86% to 28.18% victory countywide.
Outgoing Republican President Donald Trump turned the tables in Linn County, winning 76 precincts to 13 for Biden. Overall, Trump polled 59.87% in Linn to 36.5% for Biden. Incredibly, the two candidates tied in Linn’s Precinct 8, with 528 votes apiece. The district is along the Willamette River near Calapooia Brewing and Talking Waters. Trump’s high percentage was 84.54% in the rural Precinct 51. Biden’s top mark was 64.26% in Precinct 1 between downtown Albany and Bryant Park.
Biden won 13 city of Albany districts to 11 for Trump plus the one deadlock.
In Benton Biden turned in a high of 84.62% in Ward 7 northwest of the Oregon State University campus. He also had an 84.51% in Ward 5, 82.45% in Ward 4 and 80.46% in Ward 2. Biden won all nine city of Corvallis wards, with his low total 71.15% in Ward 9 in the northeast corner of town.
Trump’s high among his four Benton County precinct wins was 59.19% in Ward 20 (Monroe).
The mid-valley results in the U.S. Senate race between incumbent Democrat Jeff Merkley and Republican Jo Rae Perkins of Albany largely mirrored those of the presidential contenders. Merkley, who was re-elected, won the same 19 Benton County districts as Biden, averaging 67.29% of the vote to 28.46% for Perkins.
In Linn, Perkins was dominant, winning 75 of the 90 precincts and finishing with 57.76% of the vote to 38.29%. Merkley performed slightly better than Biden, winning 15 of the precincts. He won the Precinct 8 in which Biden and Trump deadlocked, by 47.92% to 45.05%, and he also took Precinct 14 by a 48.15% to 45.04% margin. Precinct 14 is in Albany, west of Geary Street between Queen Avenue to the south and Ninth Avenue to the north.
Precinct 14 was the only one in the county to split its vote by backing Merkley and Trump, although both winners triumphed by narrow margins. Merkley scored a high of 82.76 in Corvallis' Ward 5, while Perkins' best was 81% in the rural Precinct 51.
Albany Councilor Alex Johnson defeated incumbent Sharon Konopa by just 246 votes out of more than 27,000 cast. The percentage was 50.45% for Johnson to 49.55% for Konopa. Johnson won 17 of Albany’s 25 districts, with Konopa capturing seven. The two candidates tied in Precinct 84 with 445 votes apiece. The ward is west of Geary and south of Queen.
The margins were fairly close in all precincts, with Johnson registering a high of 55.48% in Precinct 105, along Hill Street south of 23rd Avenue and Konopa scored 54.34% in the North Albany district.
House District 11
Republican Katie Boshart Glaser fell just short of joining her sister Shelly Boshart Davis in the Legislature. Boshart Glaser scored 47.8% of the vote in her challenge to Democrat incumbent Marty Wilde, who finished with 52.2%.
Both candidates showed their strength on their home turf, with Boshart Glaser claiming 73.62% of the Linn vote, while Wilde won 60.9% in Lane County. More than 28,000 District 11 voters cast ballots in Lane, compared to about 9,400 in Linn.
Benton County conducted the first campaign in Oregon using ranked choice vote, but it proved not to play a factor in the two races for county commissioner.
Both Democratic incumbent Xan Augerot (58.67%) and Democrat Nancy Wyse (63.61%) easily bested the 50%-plus that is required to prevent voters’ second and third choices from playing a role. Ranked choice only is implemented when there are at least three candidates in a race and no one earns 50%.
Republican John Sarna took second behind Wyse with 31.95% of the vote. Libertarian Cory Sedar was third at 4.23%. Republican Tom Cordier was second behind Augerot at 31.14%, with Pacific Green candidate Mike Beilstein third at 9.90%
Eight of the nine council seats featured candidates running unopposed. Ward 7 incumbent Paul Shaffer easily defeated Nic Bowman in the lone contested race. Ed Jukins (Ward 8) proved the top vote-getter with 2,893 votes, followed by Ward 1's Jan Napack (2,643). The low count was the 871 turned in by Ward 4 winner Gabe Shepherd. The district generally features the lowest turnout because its population is dominated by Oregon State University students, many of whom vote elsewhere.