Elections officials are still tallying final ballots for a few key legislative races. One of the closest is Oregon House District 40, where Republican Steve Newgard, a contractor, and Democrat Brent Barton, an attorney, are competing. Most of the district is in Clackamas County, one of the most politically divided areas of the state.
Wednesday morning, Barton led by just 304 votes. Several thousand ballots remain to be counted - although not all those voters might have marked this race.
Newgard says he’s hoping the county’s historic trend holds true. “It’s my understanding typically Republican voters are procrastinators and vote toward the end, which would favor me to a degree.”
But both candidates acknowledge uncertainty. Neither has conceded the race.
Barton says he saw a lot of volunteers for both sides in the streets in the final days of the campaign. “It was a tough race by any measure. I think anyone in the district would agree it was a very, very difficult race.”
Added together, Barton and Newgard’s fundraising exceeded $1 million, counting in-kind contributions. Leadership for both parties spent heavily in the race.