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Recall effort fails

The effort to recall Harney County Judge Steve Grasty was defeated by a wide margin in a special election on Tuesday, June 28.

Preliminary returns showed the recall was defeated by a margin of 70.35 percent to 29.65 percent.

The unofficial results show a turnout of 63.76 percent, with 830 votes in favor of the recall, and 1,969 votes against.

The recall petition was filed in February after Grasty refused to allow Ammon Bundy and others illegally occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge to use a county building for a meeting. The recall petition stated Grasty violated the citizens’ rights to peacefully assemble and freedom of speech.

Grasty blocked the use of the county building after Bundy and armed militia members showed up at other community meetings held during the 41-day occupation of the refuge.

Grasty’s third term as county judge ends in January, and he will be succeeded by current County Commissioner Pete Runnels, who won the county judge’s race in the May primary by receiving more than 52 percent of the vote.

Randy Parks
Editor Randy was born in Iowa, and spent most of his life growing up in the Hawkeye State. After a few years in college, he settled in Idaho for a decade, skiing, golfing, and working at Sun Valley Resort. He married in 1985, completed broadcast school, and moved to Harney County in 1989 to work for KZZR. After 16 years of on-air work, he left the radio station and went to work for the Burns Times-Herald.

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