Judge Grasty enjoys a rally ice cream cone.

Judge Grasty enjoys a rally ice cream cone.

Photo Courtesy of Sue Arbuthnot/Hare in the Gate Productions

Voters overwhelmingly rejected an attempt to recall Harney County’s top elected official in a special election Tuesday.

Harney County Judge Steve Grasty was an outspoken critic of the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Preliminary election results show the recall effort against Grasty failed, with 73 percent voting not to oust their county chairman.

Grasty’s critics wanted him to step down because he didn’t allow the militants to host a meeting on the public fairgrounds during the occupation. At the time, Grasty said he wouldn’t give those who were breaking the law a public forum.

His supporters say they appreciate his hard stance against the occupiers and valued his leadership during the occupation and beyond.

The recall election was, in a sense, the second quantifiable gauge of support for Ammon Bundy and the other occupiers in Harney County. The first measure was the primary election in May — voters were clear they preferred candidates who opposed the occupation.

Grasty will remain in office through the end of the year, when he plans to retire.