Deschutes County

Commission, Position 1

​Amy Lowes (D) 32,384, 49%

Tony DeBone (R) 33,544, 51%

Position 3

James Cook (D) 32,769, 50%

Patti Adair (R) 32,766, 50%

Initial results

At least one Deschutes County Commission race could be headed for a recount. Democrat James Cook led Republican Patti Adair by only three votes after a second round of election results.

It’s a split Cook, chairman of Redmond’s planning commission, has a secondhand familiarity with: his fellow planning commissioner, Jack Zika, won the Republican nomination for the 53rd House District by two votes earlier this year.

Cook said he emailed Zika, who he had jokingly nicknamed “Landslide” after the primary, to ask for his expertise on tight races after seeing results.

“I guess it’s just going to be a long night and probably a few weeks,” Cook said.

Cook, 64, is a semiretired website developer who has spent the past several years serving on Redmond committees, including the city’s planning commission. He cites his time on the planning commission as an example of how he has the experience to lead the county.

Opponent Adair, 67, led earlier in the night and was optimistic that the race would swing in her favor because she believed many of the votes left to count were from Sisters, her home turf and a more conservative part of the county.

Adair, 67, is a retired certified public accountant and the chairwoman of the Deschutes County Republican Party. She defeated longtime County Commissioner Tammy Baney in the May Republican primary, then struggled to find support from many Republican-­leaning groups and donors that typically dominate Central Oregon politics.

Adair has been a vocal opponent of the county’s approach to recreational marijuana grows. She also frequently criticizes county spending.

A race between Republican incumbent Tony DeBone and Democratic challenger Amy Lowes was also close, though DeBone held a slight lead with thousands of votes left to count.

DeBone, his wife, Kathryn, and his son were among a small crowd waiting for election results at the Deschutes County Services building. As results flashed onto screens around the conference room, Kathryn DeBone yelled out: “Oh, Tony, you’re winning, but it’s close, babe!”

Tony DeBone, 51, was first elected to the commission in 2010 after spending six years on the board of the La Pine Park and Recreation District. During his campaign, he defended the county’s handling of its flawed police radio system and decision to open a crisis center with limited hours, rather than the 24-hour facility proposed to provide services for people experiencing mental health crises or who need help sobering up.

He said Tuesday the race looked like it would be close but he was happy with how it was going.

“My name is in front of the other person’s, and it looks good,” he said.

Lowes, 46, is a former hospice nurse who’s argued that her health care experience will be invaluable to the county, especially since Baney, who has been the commission’s health care expert, is leaving. Lowes supports extending the crisis center’s hours and improving mental health and addiction services.

She said Tuesday she was feeling optimistic about the eventual result because of the canvassing and phone banking her campaign has done.

“I feel really good about the campaign,” Lowes said. “Win or lose, we’ve done the best we can.”

The county has had an entirely Republican commission since 2016, when Phil Henderson defeated incumbent Alan Unger. Deschutes County Commission positions are considered full-time jobs, and commissioners earn $88,803 per year.

—  Reporter: 541-633-2160; jshumway@bendbulletin.com

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