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May 20, 2014
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Freeman wins Douglas County commissioner seat in primary

State Rep. Tim Freeman wanted a majority win in the race for Douglas County commissioner this month and he got it.

The Roseburg gas station owner and Republican legislator received 52 percent of the votes, more than all six of his challengers combined.

Because he won a majority, Freeman will not have to meet a challenger in the fall general election. His nearest competitor was retired Oregon state Trooper Monte Smith, who garnered 19 percent of the vote.

Freeman celebrated the win at home with family and a small group of friends. He said he was glad the election was decided in the primary because he will be able to give up campaigning to prepare himself for the office that Commissioner Joe Laurance will give up at the end of the year.

“Really what I’m excited about is, it will give me the time to continue to learn how to be good at the job,” he said.

Once he takes office, it will be too late to ask the current commissioners to mentor him, Freeman said. If two of the three commissioners meet, they form a quorum, making the conversation a public meeting that must be announced in advance. With the election already decided, Freeman said he has an opportunity between now and January to get that one-on-one coaching.

His first order of business, though, will be to take down the campaign signs with which he and supporters blanketed the county. Freeman said his team put up about 1,000 yard signs and 150 large field signs. Today they plan to take them all down.

Freeman complimented his challengers for contributing to a polite campaign.

“My opponents worked hard for the most part to run a positive race, and I’m appreciative of that,” he said.

Smith positioned himself as a moderate, a Republican son of blue-collar Democrats, while Freeman touted endorsements by the National Rifle Association and the Douglas County Republican Party in his campaign.

The other candidates were retired restaurateur Mark Vincent, county public works employee Glen Nielsen, Winchester construction manager Mick Fummerton, former TV reporter Monte Muirhead and Roseburg Municipal Court bailiff Dale Rogers.

Fummerton received 9 percent of the vote, Vincent 7 percent, Rogers 6 percent and Muirhead 5 percent. Nielsen, who entered the race too late to have an entry in the voter’s pamphlet, received 3 percent of the votes cast.

The candidates’ rankings by vote closely paralleled the amount of money they spent on their campaigns.

Freeman outspent his competitors by a wide margin. His campaign spent $104,000 this year and $59,000 last year. His contributors included many Douglas County business owners as well as Republican and Democratic legislators, political action committees and a few out-of-state businesses. The second biggest spender was Smith, who ran an $8,200 campaign. Fummerton spent $6,500 and Vincent $3,800. Rogers did not report his spending but estimated it at about $2,800. Muirhead and Nielsen each pledged to spend less than $750.

• You can reach reporter Carisa Cegavske at 541-957-4213 or ccegavske@nrtoday.com.

This version of the story was posted Tuesday:

Douglas County commissioner candidate Tim Freeman is pulling off a difficult feat — winning a majority of votes in a seven-way race.

Freeman tallied 9,543 votes, or 52.38 percent, in election results released shortly after 8 p.m.

If Freeman wins a majority, he won’t be forced into a November runoff with the second-place finisher.

If Freeman slips below 50 percent, retired Oregon state Trooper Monte Smith is the most likely challenger. He had received 3,367 votes, or 18.48 percent. Smith was the only other candidate with a double-digit percentage of the vote.

Freeman celebrated the apparent victory at home with family and a small group of friends. He said winning the office in the primary would give him time to get ready for the position.

“Really what I’m excited about is, it will give me the time to continue to learn how to be good at the job,” he said.

Once he takes office, it will be too late to ask the current commissioners to mentor him. Having two of the three commissioners together constitutes a quorum, making the conversation a public meeting, which must be announced in advance. With the election decided, Freeman said he will have an opportunity between now and January to get one-on-one coaching.

He said his first order of business, though, will be to take down the campaign signs he and supporters blanketed the county with. Freeman said his team put up about 1,000 yard signs and 150 large field signs. They plan to take them all down Wednesday.

The other candidates in order of vote totals are Mick Fummerton (1,543, 8.47 percent); Mark Vincent (1,229, 6.75 percent); Dale Rogers (1,179, 6.47 percent); Monte Muirhead (839 votes, 4.6 percent) and Glen Nielsen (470 votes, 2.58 percent).

Freeman, a Roseburg Republican, represents District 2 in the state House. He passed on running for another two-year term in the Legislature to make a bid for county commissioner. The incumbent, Joe Laurance, did not seek re-election.

Freeman complimented his challengers for contributing to a polite campaign.

“My opponents worked hard for the most part to run a positive race and I’m appreciative of that,” he said.


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The News-Review Updated May 21, 2014 12:06PM Published May 22, 2014 06:43AM Copyright 2014 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.