OKANOGAN – With the coming new year Jon Neal will trade his mayor’s hat for a seat on the Okanogan County Board of Directors in Commissioner Position 3.Neal, who owns Neal’s Auto Body and Glass in Oroville, won the Nov. 8 general election over fellow Republican Lloyd Caton Jr. in a close race for the north county position. Neal received 6,954 (52.19%) votes and Caton Jr., from Tonasket, received 6,370 (47.81%).
“When you think about it, it’s one of those things where you think, ‘What did I do?,’” said Neal. “I’m excited about it, it’s a new opportunity. I’m happy about the outcome and it was actually a little closer than I thought it was going to be.”
Neal said on days he is not working on the county’s business things will continue at his shop in Oroville. The Oroville City Council will make the decision as to who they will chose from amongst themselves to replace Neal as mayor after Jan, 1, 2023. Then they will take letters of interest to fill the vacated council seat. The new mayor and new council member will serve until the next election, according to Oroville City Clerk JoAnn Denney.
The two candidates for commissioner were vying for the position being vacated by Jim Detro who decided not to seek another term. Detro was first elected to office in 2010 and was twice reelected to four-year terms on the board.
The last count of the general election was done by the auditor’s office on Monday, Nov. 28. The election was scheduled to be certified (after press time) last Tuesday, according to county election officials.
In an equally close race, Paul Budrow, Twisp Police Chief, was chosen by the voters to take on the position of Okanogan County Sheriff. Budrow challenged incumbent sheriff Tony Hawley, who was running for his second four-year term.
In the Nov. 28 count, Budrow had 7,821 (52.29%) to Hawley’s 7,135 (47.71%) in the election for sheriff. The latest tally represented a tiny decrease in Budrow’s lead over Hawley. The two candidates both are Republicans.
David Rodriguez, who was a write-in candidate in the primary for a return as Okanogan County Coroner, won a new four-year term. The incumbent received 9,075 (65.19%) cast in his favor. Rojean “Jeannie” Hughes received 4.846 (34.81%) ballots that were cast for her.Incumbent Jerry Asmussen was reelected as Okanogan County PUD Commissioner, No. 3. Asmussen had 8,521(60.54%) of the votes compared to first-time candidate Joseph Enzensperger who received 5,553 (39.46 percent).
After not getting the required simple majority to pass their Replacement Levies last February, both Tonasket and Oroville school districts had enough ballots to pass in the Nov. 8 attempt.
Tonasket School District levy raises $1,053,696 in 2023 and $1,116,918 in 2024. Those voting in favor of their Proposition 1 passed with 1,630 (56.01%) “yes” votes to 1,280 (43.99%) voting against.Oroville School District’s two-year replacement school levy has 1,011 votes (60.25%) in favor of their Proposition 1 which raises $1,229,600 to be collected in 2023 and 2024. There were 667 (39.75 percent) against the measure, which helps to pay for items not covered under the state’s basic education funds.