Local candidates trying to win the sixth seat on the Philomath City Council have been involved in an excruciating close election with Peggy Yoder, David Low, Jessica Andrade and Catherine Biscoe all within a handful of votes of one another.

In the latest update from the Benton County Elections office late Wednesday afternoon, Low moved into sixth place with 1,193 votes. Andrade had a surge go her way and is now in seventh just one vote behind Low with 1,192. Yoder, who had been in sixth place at the end of Tuesday night’s release, is now in eighth with 1,189 votes. Biscoe is right there as well in ninth with 1,178 votes.

That’s just 15 votes separating Low to Biscoe.

The top four candidates are Christopher McMorran (1,662), Teresa Nielson (1,563), Matt Lehman (1,490) and Diane Crocker (1,435). Ruth Causey is sitting in fifth (1,222) but is only 29 votes ahead of Low.

In the vote totals added from late Tuesday to Wednesday afternoon, Andrade picked up 165 votes, Biscoe 155, Low 154 and Yoder 147.

If this latest top six turns out to be the final order, it appears that Lehman, Low and Nielsen would serve four-year terms with Causey, Crocker and McMorran set up for two-year terms.

Based on the election results timeline published by the Benton County Elections office, it could be a while before the Philomath City Council’s top six are finalized. Ballots come in from voters who dropped them off in boxes outside of the county and there are also ballots that were mailed late Tuesday before the 8 p.m. postmark deadline and don’t arrive for a few days.

According to the Benton County Elections office, “Final results, especially for close contests, may not be known until the election is certified and the official abstract of votes is published. Final certified results will be available 37 days after the election.”

In other updates:

• Philomath Mayor Chas Jones has 1,784 votes to Lawrence Johnson’s 606.

• Measure 2-137 to renew the school district’s local option levy is leading by a 72-28 margin (3,741 yes votes to 1,429 no votes).

• Voters approved Measure 2-138 to place a moratorium on psilocybin manufacturing and service facilities in Philomath by a 52-48 margin — which comes out to 1,352 yes votes to 1,240 no votes.

• For Benton County commissioner, incumbent Pat Malone of Kings Valley defeated challenger William Kughn of Monroe by a 67-33 margin. Malone’s numbers were 28,575 votes compared to Kughn’s 14,094 votes.

• In House District 10, incumbent David Gomberg (D-Otis) outdueled challenger Celeste McEntree (R-Newport) for state representative by a 57-43 margin throughout the district. Among Benton County voters, it was very close with Gomberg getting 4,330 votes to McEntee’s 4,278.

• For the 8th District state senator’s seat, incumbent Sara Gelser Blouin (D-Corvallis) defeated challenger Valerie Draper Woldeit (R-Albany) overall by a 60-40 margin. Gelser Blouin had 36,068 votes to Draper Woldeit’s 23,643. In Benton County, Gelser Blouin had a 72-28 margin for a lead — 24,930 to 9,684.

• Jef Van Arsdall ran unopposed for Benton County sheriff.

Brad Fuqua, Philomath News

Brad Fuqua has covered the Philomath area since 2014 as the editor of the now-closed Philomath Express and currently as publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He has worked as a professional journalist since 1988 at daily and weekly newspapers in Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, Arizona, Montana and Oregon.

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