Incumbent Kevin Stine, front, and newcomers Jessica Ayres, left, Nick Card, center, and Zac Smith led their races for Medford City Council after preliminary results Tuesday evening. [Submitted photos]
A longtime incumbent held his lead by less than three percentage points after Tuesday night’s early election, and a local banker, an RV finance manager and a trucking company executive were on track to ‘join the Medford City Council.
Newcomers Jessica Ayres, Zac Smith and Nick Card, and incumbent Kevin Stine, led after early returns in Medford’s four contested wards.
The results are preliminary. A full count and certified election results are weeks away because the state now accepts mail-in ballots up to seven days after the polls close, as long as they are postmarked on or before Nov. 8.
Stine, who works as a member of the Navy Military Honor Team and as a substitute teacher in Medford schools, was leading the Ward 3 race by 2.71 points. Reached by phone, Stine said he believed that should be enough for a third term.
Stine had received 1,538 votes, 40.39% of the 3,808 votes in the three-way race. Challenger Jessica Freedom Allen was 103 votes behind Stine with 37.68% of the vote. Bob Shand had 797 votes or 20.93%, with an additional 38 votes for write-in candidates.
Stine said he believed his efforts to help lead the campaign for the Rogue Credit Union Community Complex, better known as Rogue X, resonated with voters.
“It’s in Ward 3, so there are people who live near the sports complex who will be able to walk there,” Stine said. “It’s an exciting thing for Medford to be a part of.”
Stine envisions swimming competitions and sporting events that could come to Medford once it’s completed, along with activities for children.
Looking back on his last two terms on the council, Stine said, “We’ve been through a lot.”
COVID affected the council’s ability to address issues like housing, but Stine believes the council will be able to address them in the future.
“I think we’re starting to see the result of a lot of projects coming together,” Stine said. “It’s really exciting.”
In Ward 1, Jessica Ayres, who works as a business banker, led opponent Curt Ankerberg in the East Medford district by 33.8 points. He had received 66.61% of the 6,442 votes counted until 8pm on Tuesday. Ankerberg had 2,088 votes, with 63 votes for write-in candidates.
“I’m incredibly humbled by the support I’ve gotten from my neighborhood, my family, my friends,” Ayres said when reached by phone at Rogue Valley Country Club. “I’m excited to do great things for the citizens of Ward 1 and Medford.”
“Medford is my hometown and it’s very important to me. I can’t wait to make it a better place,” added Ayres.
In Ward 2, Zac Smith, who works as a finance manager at Blue Dog RV, led by 8.91 percentage points over incumbent Clay Bearnson. Smith had received 2,621 votes as of 8:00 p.m. Tuesday night, 54.19 percent of the 4,837 total votes cast. Bearnson had 2,190 votes or 45.28%, with 26 votes for write-in candidates.
Reached by phone, Smith said he was “definitely happy” with his lead, but said the bottom line is up to the voters.
“I would be more than honored to address the issues facing Medford,” Smith said, citing homelessness as an example. “I’m ready to roll up my sleeves, work with the rest of the council and get it done.”
In Ward 4, Nick Card, who works as vice president of combined transportation operations, appeared to be in the lead to represent Medford’s east district by a margin of less than five percentage points with 3,727 votes, 43.8 percent of the 8,510 subsequent votes. early returns Kathleen Blackshear was 409 votes behind with 38.99%. Matt Roberts had 1,439 votes or 16.91%, with 26 votes for write-in candidates.
With 70 percent of the vote counted, Card said he was “cautiously optimistic” about his 4.71 point lead, but didn’t want to assume anything until the official results are in.
“I believe in the process, and I want to make sure it’s up to the voters and not me to decide whether I’m going to represent them,” Card said.
He admitted, however, that he is excited about the prospect of making a difference in the community by joining the Medford City Council.
“This is a great opportunity to continue to help,” Card said.
Contact Web Editor Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MTwebeditor.
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