UNION COUNTY — Cody Bowen was the top vote-getter in the race for Union County sheriff in Tuesday’s primary election. It looks like in November’s general election the deputy and school resource officer will face his boss, Union County Sheriff Boyd Rasmussen.
The race received a total of 10,255 votes in the Tuesday night primary, according to the latest results from the county elections office. Bowen of La Grande won 4,263 votes or 41.6% of the total. He said results were exciting and humbling.
“I’ve put a ton of time and effort to be seen and available in the community,” Bowen said. “I spoke from the heart and was honest and transparent.”
Rasmussen is holding on to second place with 2,664 votes or 26% of the total. Bill Miller of Elgin is in third place with 2,525 — just 139 behind Rasmussen — or 24.6%.
Union County Clerk Robin Church said she has more than 200 ballots that require signature verification and more ballots are trickling in from outside Union County. Miller’s chance of gaining enough votes is slim, but Church said there still remains a possibility that he will bring in enough votes to run alongside Bowen on the November ballot.
Rasmussen said he appreciated the support he received from Union County residents.
“My family and I have endured much this past year, and it is gratifying to see the solid support to advance me to the fall election,” he said in a written statement.
Rasmussen came under fire late in the campaign when the Oregon Department of Justice released a report about its 2019 investigation of the sheriff for accusations of misconduct years before. The justice department concluded Rasmussen was beyond the statute of limitations to face any charges. Rasmussen touted that as the justice department clearing him of wrongdoing.
Miller said win or lose, he was proud of the race he ran, quoting his slogan “integrity, transparency and hard work” as what drove him toward success.
“I went into this race with the best interest of Union County in mind,” Miller said. “I couldn’t ask for a better campaign team and all of the support from friends, family and concerned citizens. I thank you all.”
Shane Rollins of Cove ended up in a distance fourth place, with 781 votes or 7.6%.
Rollins gathered with his family to watch as election results came in Tuesday evening. Early on, he realized his chance of becoming Union County’s newest sheriff was at an end.
“It was a tough race. There were a lot of really good candidates,” Rollins said.
Bowen said he wishes Rasmussen and Miller good luck. He said he felt the race has been strong and exciting, and though he is no politician, Bowen said he is looking forward to finishing what he started and is ready to be the next Union County sheriff.
Rollins said he hopes whoever wins will listen to the people of Union County.
“They have something to say and should be heard,” he said, “and the changes they want should be made.”