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It's official: Stephens prevails in recount in Lopez/Shaw County Council race
Jamie Stephens prevailed in a recount Monday, winning election to the San Juan County Council from District 6 (Blakely, Decatur, Lopez and Shaw islands).
In final election results posted Nov. 22, Stephens led with 877 votes to Bob Myhr’s 866. That vote was unchanged after the recount.
Elections Supervisor Doris Schaller said Monday that 1,853 ballots would be counted; an additional 110 ballots, called undervotes, in which voters didn’t mark a choice for County Council, were counted again in case a mark was made that had been missed by the machine or an inspector.
Because a recount was not required by law, Myhr paid for it, 25 cents per ballot. He placed a deposit of $464.50.
Come Jan. 10, Stephens — a Lopez port commissioner — will be one of two new members of the County Council: Patty Miller ran unopposed for the District 5 council position, representing East Orcas Island. Rich Peterson was reelected to a second term representing District 2, North San Juan, Henry and Stuart islands.
Council terms are for four years. Council members receive $35,000 a year and full benefits. Among other things, they adopt the annual budget, appoint committees, approve laws and set policy. The county administrator, who oversees the daily operations of county government, reports to the council.
Myhr was elected to the old County Commission in 2005 and served as the first council chairman under the county charter established in 2007. He and his wife, Joyce, have lived on Lopez Island for more than 25 years.
"One of the big differences in this election is that I've expressed where I stand on a variety of issues, and my opponent's statements remain very general," Myhr said in an earlier interview with the Sounder. "I think that's a major difference between the two of us."
Myhr worked as a business and non-profit consultant from 2002-05. Prior to that, he served as executive director of the San Juan Preservation Trust. During his 17-year tenure, he negotiated with property owners to preserve more than 8,750 acres of San Juan County farmland, shoreline and woodlands.
Earlier, Myhr taught political science at the University of Washington and managed an international group at Weyerhaeuser. He was also a Fulbright Scholar, earning his B.A. in economics from Amherst College, an MIA in international affairs and economics, and a Ph.D. in public law and government from Columbia University.
Stephens is property manager for Ledger Investments, LLC. He and his wife, Lauren, have lived on Lopez Island for 14 years and owned the Edenwild Inn from 2002-05. They have children in college.
In an earlier interview, Stephens said updating the Critical Areas Ordinance would be a priority for him if elected. "Part of the reason I'm running is that I feel that issues like the CAO, which were issues five years ago, have just been kicked down the road," Stephens told The Islands' Sounder. "No one's going to be totally happy when it's put together. It's going to take a stiff back to put something into action that's defensible."