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Brett Pruess

Circuit Court Judge Brett Pruess is seeking election after serving out a brief appointment. Photo Courtesy of Brett Pruess

COOS COUNTY — The final election report of the night has been posted, showing Brett Pruess winning by 60.57 percent and 8,032 votes for Position 5 for Circuit Court Judge in the 15th District. James Monsebroten lost with 39.02 percent with only 5,174 votes.

There were 54 write-in votes, accounting for 0.41 percent.

Coos County Clerk Debbie Heller won't officially certify the numbers until June 4, meaning that for now Pruess is here to stay.

He had initially been appointed to Position 5 for Circuit Court Judge back in December last year by Governor Kate Brown, but now voters have shown that they want him to stick around.

Pruess sent a statement to The World, thanking those who gave him an “outpouring” of support through the election process.

“My family and I have enjoyed attending numerous events and gathering, and talking directly to community members throughout the campaign season,” he said. “I have continually been impressed by the level of knowledge and civil engagement of south coast voters.”

During the campaign, he wrote that he was asked thoughtful questions from the local Rotary Clubs, students from Southwestern Oregon Community College, “the audience at the League of Women Voters,” and also the “fine folks at Drinking Civilly.”

Since his appointment, The World previously reported that he has worked mostly civil cases which has taught him that it’s “not just knowledge that makes a judge, there’s also judicial temperament.”

Pruess also worked in the Peace Corps with his wife after earning his undergraduate degree, after which he finished law school and moved his family to Oregon so he could work at the Oregon Law Center. There he represented low-income Oregonians.

“Regardless of the final vote tally, please know that it has been and continues to be an honor to serve the people of the south coast as Circuit Court Judge,” he wrote. “My family and I thank you for your continued support.”

As of Tuesday afternoon, 11,281 ballots had been turned in at the Coos County Elections Office.

That is 26 percent, meaning less people have mailed in ballots for the May primary.

“Normal for primary elections are 40 to 50 right now and it’s down statewide,” said Debbie Heller, Coos County Clerk. “Usually we get up to 6,000 ballots on Election Day, but it’s hard to say because the turnout is down this year. There’s no way to tell if people are waiting for the last minute or decided not to vote.”

Heller has heard from other counties across the state that they are also seeing a 20 percent ballot return right now.

Earlier on Election Day, The World went out to talk with some of those last minute voters at the ballot boxes. Voter Rozann Pedro said she is hoping for a positive outcome tonight.

As for Teresa Richards, she wants to see change.

“I don’t want the representation that we have right now,” she said. “I don’t like things headed down that path. I want more for the people, to see less in the pockets of politicians and more for the people.”

Check back with theworllink.com for updates to this story and election results.

Reporter Jillian Ward can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 235, or by email at jillian.ward@theworldlink.com. Follow her on Twitter: @JE_Wardwriter.

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