Michael Milch unseats Gladstone Mayor Tammy Stempel
A slate of candidates led by former Gladstone Councilor Michael Milch for mayor swept four races, with the mayoral candidate and three of his council-candidate allies holding onto leads as more votes were counted on Nov. 9, the day after the deadline for mailing ballots.
Although a few more mail-in ballots remain to be counted, it won't be enough to overcome the mere 32% of the vote received by Mayor Tammy Stempel and her opposing slate of candidates who suffered a complete loss.
Milch emphasized civility and collaboration as part of his campaign, while his three running mates took a similar tone with their messaging. Vanessa Huckaby ran to "stand up to hate," and Veronica Reichle promised "genuine cooperation and relevant discourse."
Gladstone voters supported Milch running mate and 19-year-old Luke Roberts as the youngest official in the state over a 50-year-old perennial candidate who has unsuccessfully run several previous political campaigns in Clackamas County.
Roberts, who served as Gladstone High School's student-body president for the school year prior to his graduation in May, had more than 57% of the vote against Bill Osburn after additional ballots were counted on Nov. 9. Roberts criticized Osburn's slate of four candidates for their "outrageous" claims and thanked voters for seeing through various lies.
False claims showed "their side doesn't have the tools to win on their own merits," Roberts said.
Former Gladstone City Councilor Neal Reisner, who has volunteered for the city's budget and audit committees, received 47% of the election tally through Nov. 9 compared to nearly 53% for Reichle, who has served on the board for the Gladstone Public Library Foundation and was the co-chief petitioner for a successful 2016 ballot measure to require public votes if the city ever intends to sell a public park for private development.
In the mayoral race, Milch's 37% of the vote was several percentage points ahead of either of the other candidates, even with additional votes counted on Nov. 9. City Councilor Mindy Garlington's campaign received only 44% against Huckaby (about 55%) according to the incomplete results after counting on Nov. 9.
Osburn's false voter-fraud accusation against Roberts kicked off this year's council race. Roberts could not have committed voter fraud, having never voted in a Clackamas County election, but Osburn nevertheless incorrectly charged Roberts with voting in Milwaukie while living in Gladstone.
Roberts' campaign pointed out the irony of Osburn's false accusation, given Osburn's criminal history. Osburn then accused his opponents of desiring arson, without any evidence for the accusation, while sharing a controversial campaign flyer that's under investigation by the secretary of state for possible election-law violations.
Osburn previously made headlines throughout Gladstone by publishing public records associated with Administrator Jacque Betz's July 2020 complaint against City Councilor Matt Tracy, who is stepping off council at the end of the year.
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