Berney bests two-term incumbent Leiken in Springfield county commission race

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    SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - Joe Berney appears to have unseated incumbent County Commissioner and former Springfield Mayor Sid Leiken.

    Berney leads in the tally in the final official results, with 6,700 votes to 6,100 for Leiken. Several hundred ballots remain under review, but all of those ballots would have to be from Springfield and for Leiken to shift the outcome of the race. | ELECTION RESULTS

    As returns rolled in, Berney said that - win or lose - a tight race is a good thing.

    "That signifies that people are ready for a change, that there are a lot of issues that have really been neglected by this board of commissioners, and we have tried to surface those," he said.

    Voters first elected Leiken to the commission in 2010 after he served as mayor of Springfield.

    Leiken said that if he loses, he's ready for the next chapter.

    "I've been proud of serving this community for 20 years," he said Tuesday night as results rolled in, "and believe me, if we don't, if this doesn't happen tonight - I've got plenty to do, plenty of work to do."

    Leiken said fallout from the strike last year by members of the county's largest labor union has affected the campaign.

    Berney, a retired business person, said his top priorities are rescinding the pay raise county commissioners gave themselves; having legal staff work with citizens on their initiatives to make that process more efficient; and revamping a focus on economic development.

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