'We always expected it to be a very tight race. Not this tight'

EUGENE, Ore. - At the Lane County Elections Office, ballots are still being counted to determine who will be the next West Lane County Commissioner.

In early returns Tuesday night, challenger Dawn Lesley led incumbent Jay Bozievich.

As of 12:30 a.m. Wednesday morning, Bozievich took the lead by just 45 votes - a margin of .3 percent.

Now both candidates said all they can do now is wait. The next vote count update will be available at the end of the day on Friday, May 23.

"It's been a long campaign," Bozievich said, "and a tough one."

"Right now, it's a very calm feeling actually," said Lesley's campaign manager Robert Phillips. "Dawn's out spending some well-deserved time with her son right now. She's been very busy over the last 9 months."

And last night's election was no exception for either party.

"We always expected it to be a very tight race," Phillips said. "Maybe not this tight, but a very tight race. The 12:30 vote was a little bit of a surprise. You know, we're 45 votes behind now, but we have some confidence there are some votes left to count, and we're interested to see what the results are."

Bozievich said he's pretty confident the results will stay in his favor."45 votes. I hope it stands up, because most of what hasn't been counted is late votes, and those were favoring me," he said, "but you never know."

Lane County Elections received a surge of 20,000 ballots on Election Day. This brought the total turnout to 59,652, representing a 29.62 percent turnout of registered voters.

"I think this race shows it's absolutely important that everyone votes," Phillips said. "We're just looking to ensure, like I'm sure commissioner Bozievich is, that every vote is counted in this race."

Right now, Bozievich's lead over Lesley is 0.3 percent. If it drops down one percent, an automatic recount will be issued.