Political newcomer Don Skundrick is the apparent winner against incumbent Jackson County Commissioner Jack Walker in early returns for the Republican primary Tuesday night.
On the Democratic side, Mark Wisnovsky led a pack of Democrats seeking their party's nomination for the position formerly held by Dave Gilmour, who did not seek re-election.
"I called Don Skundrick and told him that it looks to me like he won the election, and I congratulated him," said Walker, a four-term commissioner.
"It might be time for Jack to hit the road."
Skundrick had 45 percent and Walker had 34 percent in the Republican race for Position No. 1. Morris "Bub" Saltekoff had 12 percent and Rick Nagel had 9 percent to round out the field. The winner will face Jeff Golden, who ran unopposed in the Democratic primary, in the November general election.
Skundrick said he put a lot of money and resources into the campaign because he knew it would be an uphill battle taking on an incumbent with four terms in office.
"For a political neophyte and candidate, I really feel good about the campaign," Skundrick said. "We did things right."
In the Democratic race for Position No. 3, Wisnovsky had more than 50 percent of the vote, while Buck Eichler and Jim Sims each had about 25 percent in early returns.
Wisnovsky said his business background registered with voters. His parents started Valley View Winery 40 years ago, making it the first successful Southern Oregon winery.
"I don't think government should be run like a business, because I think those things should remain separate," he said. "But there are skills I learned as a business owner that were important."
On the Republican side for Position No. 3, John Rachor was leading the race to become Wisnovsky's opponent. Rachor had 30 percent of his party's vote, with Craig Prewitt not far behind with about 25 percent. Doug Breidenthal, Court Boice and Kay Harrison trailed at 20, 14 and 11 percent, respectively.
Rachor said not enough votes had been counted yet to declare himself the victor, but he anticipated he would fare better in some of the outlying regions of the county.
"I feel comfortable that with the other results from the more remote areas, I will do better there," he said.
Rachor said he thinks he pulled ahead because he was the best known candidate in the community.
"I often heard that I'm very approachable," he said. "People can just walk up and talk to me."
Early returns included 21.5 percent of the county's nearly 115,000 eligible voters. Democrats cast 44.2 percent of the ballots; Republicans, 41.7 percent; and nonpartisan votes accounted for 14 percent.