Cohen, Morrison lead in primary

As expected, Oak Harbor mayoral candidates Patty Cohen, the incumbent, and Councilman Bob Morrison made it through Tuesday’s primary election and will face each other in this November’s election.

Councilman Eric Gerber, the third candidate in Tuesday’s election, came in a very close third place in the election, despite pulling out of the race 10 days before the primary. He cited serious family problems and asked his supporters to vote for Morrison instead. However, he withdrew too late for his name to be removed from the ballot.

According to the unofficial results, Cohen led the race by a wide margin. She received 1,142 votes, Morrison received 607 votes and Gerber got 602.

Yet the contest between Cohen and and Morrison could still be tight if Gerber’s supporters do flock to Morrison’s side.

“My desire and my hope is that the voters will pick the candidate by whom the people of Oak Harbor will be best served,” Cohen said late Tuesday. “That’s what it’s all about.”

Morrison said he wasn’t surprised by the results. He admits he’s run “a pretty subdued campaign so far,” but he said that will kick it up a notch if he wins the primary. He’s looking forward to an Oct. 9 League of Women Voters’ forum to help him spread his message.

“Can we win? You bet we can win,” he said.

Cohen and Morrison have similar views on the importance of such issues as economic development, budget restraints and preventing Navy base relocation. The difference is in how they propose to solve the issues.

Cohen, for example, said she plans to hold workshops and meetings with the council to work on an economic development plan. Morrison, on the other hand, has some unique ideas for getting community members and business leaders directly involved in implementing a strategy.

Voter turnout for the election was pretty low. A total of 2,351 votes were counted from within Oak Harbor. The county auditor received 2,148 mail-in ballots so far, which means only a handful of votes were cast at the polls.

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