In the community, Local government

ELECTION 2022: Folden leads in race for Ontario mayor while Mills, Bakefelt and Hart are ahead for council seats

Debbie Folden, an Ontario businesswoman, is leading in the early vote count for mayor of Ontario, trailed by incumbent Mayor Riley Hill and Eddie Melendrez, an Ontario councilman.

The first results of the night from the Malheur County Clerk’s Office showed Folden with 567 votes, Hill with 420 and Melendrez with 409.

In the race for three Ontario City Council seats, incumbent Susann Mills was in the lead with 750 votes, followed by challenger Penny Bakefelt with 725 and incumbent Ken Hart with 715. Incumbent Councilor Michael Braden was in fourth place with 684 votes and challenger McShane Erlebach trailed with 459 votes.

Debbie Folden, candidate for Ontario mayor, speaks at a forum on Wednesday, Oct. 19, at Treasure Valley Community College. The forum was produced by the Ontario Area Chamber of Commerce and the Malheur Enterprise. (ANGIE SILLONIS/Special to the Enterprise)

The results are early, with 4,313 ballots counted countywide. There was no immediate information on total number of ballots cast in Ontario city races.

In Nyssa, seven people were competing for four council seats. In early returns, the count was:

­–Betty Holcomb, incumbent and current mayor, 208.

­–Pat Oliver, incumbent, 182

­–Morganne DeLeon, incumbent, 159

–Juan Ramos, 148

–Ron Edmondson, incumbent, 129

–Mark Shuster, 124

In Vale, three candidates were running for three seats on the Vale City Council. Christine Phillips had 168 votes, Monty Bixby had 166 and Jeremiah Strohmeyer had 164 votes. Mayor Tom Vialpando was running unopposed for a second term.

In Adrian, three candidates were running for three seats. Karen Olsen had 25 votes, Carlos Mendoza got 24 and Tom Pierce had 22.

Vale businessman Jim Mendiola was the lone candidate for Malheur County commissioner after he defeated incumbent Don Hodge in May.

Malheur County Treasurer Jennifer Forsyth and Malheur County Clerk Gayle Trotter will get new terms as they ran unopposed.

In the governor’s race, Malheur County voters were heavily favoring Republican Christine Drazan. She had 3,230 votes to 721 for Democrat Tina Kotek and 245 for Betsy Johnson, running as an unaffiliated candidate.

Statewide, Kotek was leading with 45.8% of the vote to 44.3% for Drazan and 9.1% for Johnson.

This report will be updated as new results become available.