Linn Co. Voters Elect New Board of Supervisors

Linn County voters re-elected three incumbents to the board of Supervisors positions Tuesday. But at the same time, two current incumbents were also defeated.

The unusual results came because of an earlier vote in 2016 to reduce the size of the board overseeing county business from five to three supervisors.

In District 1, there was a rematch pitting long time Supervisor Jim Houser against Stacey Walker, who became the first African-American board member in 2016.

Walker defeated Houser last June in a Democratic primary by a vote of 3,682 to 1,608.

Houser ran again in the general election against Walker but this time as a no-party candidate. The results, though, were similar with Walker winning over Houser by a vote of 17,396 to 9,409.

In District 3, it was another battle of current incumbents with Supervisor John Harris, a Republican, taking on Supervisor Brent Oleson, a Democrat. Both had represented rural parts of the county under an earlier district system with five seats on the board.

Tuesday, Oleson of Marion won the single remaining board seat in his district by a vote of 19,641 to 16,154.

In District 2, current Supervisor Ben Rogers did not have a Republican opponent. But, Linn County Auditor Joel Miller ran against Rogers as an independent while still maintaining his current office which was not up for election this year.

The vote Tuesday was 17,154 for Rogers and 14,594 for Miller.

The winners of districts one and two will be in office for four years. Rogers, in district three, must stand for election again in 2020 in order to create staggered terms.

Linn County voters, back in 2006, voted to expand the board from three members then to five. Supporters of that move thought having more supervisors would give more representation to rural portions of Linn County.

In 2016, just 10 years later, supporters of shrinking the Board of Supervisors to made the argument it cost too much money to pay five supervisors to run county government.

Linn County Supervisors earn close to $104,000 annually.

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