FINAL RESULTS: Mendiola defeats Hodge for county commissioner, Joyce heads for re-election

Turnout for the Oregon primary election in Malheur County remained low, although mailed ballots will be counted as they come in after Tuesday, May 17. (The Enterprise/Les Zaitz)

6:30 a.m. Wednesday UPDATE: Malheur County Clerk Gayle Trotter has issued final unofficial results for the May primary election.

VALE – Vale businessman Jim Mendiola overwhelmed incumbent Malheur County Commissioner Don Hodge by a ratio of more than 2-to-1 in primary election results Tuesday night.

In final unofficial results from the Malheur County Clerk’s Office, Mendiola was taking 74% of the vote to about 26% for Hodge, a retired banker in office since 2010. The two ran in a Republican primary and Mendiola will appear on the general election ballot but no Democrat filed for the job.

Dan Joyce was re-elected to his fourth term as Malheur County judge, with results Tuesday night showing he had 54% of the vote to 46% for Tom Vialpando, Vale mayor.

Hodge’s defeat is an echo of the loss two years ago of incumbent Larry Wilson, an Ontario real estate agent who was a strong proponent of the now-troubled Treasure Valley Reload Center. Wilson finished third in a race won by Ron Jacobs.

Hodge has supported the rail project as well but has spoken little about the deep financial trouble the project encountered this year that may require a taxpayer bailout.

In other election results, Ontario voters approved a ballot measure to reform city government, triggered in part by the controversial tenure of former Ontario City Councilor Freddy Rodriguez. Rodriguez served as council president before he was recalled by voters. Ontario voters also boosted the local motel tax to help fund the renovation of the Ontario Recreation District pool and to fund the Malheur County Fairgrounds.

Two local officials with no opponents were re-elected. Dave Goldthorpe will continue as Malheur County district attorney and Erin Landis won re-election as Malheur County circuit court judge.

Joyce, 67, was born in Ontario and raised in Juntura. A longtime rancher, Joyce graduated from Vale High School and was first elected to the county judge slot in 2004. Before he was elected to the county judge position he served two terms as Malheur County commissioner.

Joyce was unopposed when he ran for his third 6-year term in 2016 and in 2010 he defeated Tom Butler 4,101-1,661.

Vialpando, 52, of Vale, was born in Idaho and served in the U.S. Air Force for eight years as a firefighter and crew chief. He received his bachelor’s degree in sociology and an associate’s degree in criminal justice from Idaho State University. He is a partner in a 3D printing company and was elected mayor of Vale in 2020.

Hodge, of Vale, 70, is a retired U.S. Bank manager and graduated from Vale High School. After high school Hodge earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Eastern Oregon University in 1974.

He was elected Malheur County commissioner in 2010 and was unopposed for his second term in 2014 and his third term in 2018. This election is the first time he has had a challenger.

Jim Mendiola, 58, of Vale, graduated from Vale High School. He has operated Mendiola Gravel Products since 1998. Mendiola has also been involved as a local volunteer and as a president of the Vale 4th of July Rodeo Board.


Malheur County judge (nonpartisan):

Dan Joyce-incumbent – 2,651

Tom Vialpando – 2,289

Malheur County commissioner – Republican:

Don Hodge-incumbent – 807

Jim Mendiola – 2,270

Ontario Ballot Measure 23-65 (City charter change):

Yes – 962

No – 682

Ontario Ballot Measure 23-66 (Increase motel tax):

Yes – 947

No – 739

How Malheur County voted for governor:

Republican nomination:

NOTE: On statewide basis, Christine Drazan, former Republican leader in the Oregon House, is leading with Bob Tiernan not far behind.

Raymond Baldwin – 7

Bridget Barton – 75

Court Boise – 31

David A. Burch – 8

Reed Christensen – 59

Christine Drazan – 756

Jessica Gomez – 64

Nick Hess – 47

Tim McCloud – 43

Kerry McQuisten – 1,038

Brandon Merritt – 40

Bud Pierce – 211

John Presco – 3

Stan Pulliam – 238

Amber Richardson – 28

Bill Sizemore – 135

Stefan G. Strek (Stregol) – 4

Marc Thielman – 149

Bob Tiernan – 263

Democratic nomination:

NOTE: Tina Kotek, former House speaker, won the Democratic nomination.

George L Carrillo – 70

Michael Cross – 6

David Beem – 9

Julian Bell – 24

Wilson Bright – 8

Ifeanyichukwu C. Diru – 3

Peter Hall – 11

Tina Kotek – 282

Keisha Lanell Merchant – 8

Tobias Read – 267

John Sweeney – 27

Partrick E. Starnes – 43

David W. Stauffer – 11

Michael Trimble – 15

Genevieve Wilson H – 9

OREGON STATEWIDE RESULTS – from Oregon Capital Chronicle

 Live Coverage: The latest on the 2022 Oregon primary election

IDAHO STATEWIDE RESULTS – from Idaho Capital Sun

Idaho 2022 primary election results: The race for governor, U.S. House and more