Early results showed current East Lane commissioner Gary Williams leading the race for the seat he was appointed to on the Lane County Commission as he was ahead of Heather Buch by less than one percent just after 9 p.m.
Williams, who was appointed in 2016 after Commissioner Faye Stewart resigned to take a position with the city of Cottage Grove, earned 31.07 percent of the vote. Buch got 30.69 percent.
By 10:30 p.m. they were tied: 31.03 percent percent to 31.03 percent.
Tuesday morning, Buch had pulled ahead, 31.27 to Williams' 30.73.
Because the race for the commission seat is non partisan, only candidates who earn more than 50 percent of the vote secure the seat in a primary election. If no candidate garners more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two earners are placed on the general election ballot.
Kevin Matthews who ran for the seat two years ago, losing by a handful of votes, came in with just under 20 percent of the vote while Tim Laue (9.84 percent) and James Barber (6.85 percent) rounded out the top five. Frank King pulled 1.42 percent of the 13,126 votes counted as of Monday night.
Williams had earned the endorsement of Lane County Sheriff Byron Trapp and the Oregon Small Business Association. He campaigned as “Gary from 3rd St.” and on a platform focused on helping to ensure elderly residents received the resources they need.
Buch, who also applied for Stewart’s seat last year, focused on affordable housing and earned the endorsements of Oregon Working Families, several labor unions and current Congressman Peter DeFazio.