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Golden leads Sparacino in tight Senate District 3 race

Jeff Golden

Unofficial results in Jackson County, with all precincts reporting, show incumbent Democrat Golden leading over challenger Randy Sparacino by 2,153 votes, a margin of around 3% as of Wednesday morning.

Jackson County reports all ballots counted that have currently been received, but ballots that are postmarked by election day and arrive within a week will still be tabulated.

Representing parts of the Rogue and Applegate valleys, District 3 was one of 15 State Senate races Republicans were hoping to win to help carve out more seats in the legislature.

Golden was elected to the legislature in 2018. He campaigned on continuing to work on his first term priorities, including wildfire prevention, illegal cannabis enforcement and workforce training.

Golden is also a strong opponent of big money in politics, rejecting campaign funding from special interest groups and lobbyists. Sparacino outraised Golden by at least 3-to-1, but those contributions don’t seem to have been enough to defeat the incumbent.

Sparacio spent much of his campaign attacking Golden for his wildfire policy. He had criticized the senator for supporting the wildfire risk map, which resulted in widespread public outcry after it was released. It was later recalled.

But Sparacino provided few alternatives to what Golden has done to address the threat of wildfires in Southern Oregon.

The 2022 election has been a closer race than Golden’s win in 2018. That year, he defeated Republican challenger Jessica Gomez by over 6,000 votes.

After graduating from Oregon State University, Roman came to JPR as part of the Charles Snowden Program for Excellence in Journalism in 2019. He then joined Delaware Public Media as a Report For America fellow before returning to the west coast.