In the race for the lone contested Central Oregon Community College board seat, former Bend mayor and incumbent Jim Clinton was strongly leading challenger John Short in early voting returns in Tuesday’s special district election, earning 78% of the vote compared to 22% percent for Short.

Clinton, 75, who was appointed to the COCC board in January, previously served on the Bend City Council from 2004 through 2016, acting as mayor for his final four years.

Before moving to Central Oregon, the Lakeview native taught at the University of California San Diego and San Diego Mesa College.

On Tuesday night, Clinton said he was excited to serve a full four-year term.

Short, 28 is a former COCC student and a botanist consultant.

Both candidates agreed on clamping down on the college’s campus security force and offering more online courses. Short was passionate about offering on-campus child care for students, while Clinton said he was interested in that plan if the college could share the costs with an outside group. Clinton also said he felt COCC had handled six straight years of declining enrollment and flat revenues by cutting back on unpopular programs and managing expenses, and that he felt his time on the Bend City Council made him more familiar with issues facing the community.

The two other COCC seats up for reelection will be held by unopposed candidates: one by incumbent Bruce Abernethy and the other by newcomer Oliver Tatom.

— Reporter: 541-617-7854,