POLK COUNTY -- Part two of the race to become Polk County District Attorney will take place in November.
Stan Butterfield of Dallas received more than 47 percent of the vote in local precincts during last week's primary election, according to the Polk County Clerk.
His closest challenger, Aaron Felton of West Salem, garnered 37 percent. Michael Fagan, also of West Salem, finished with 15 percent.
Under state rules, a candidate can be declared the winner if he or she receives 50 percent or more of the vote during the primaries.
With Butterfield falling short of an outright victory, he and Felton as the top vote-getters will square off in the general election for incumbent John Fisher's spot in the first contested DA race since the mid-1980s.
"My feelings are mixed," Butterfield, 49, said about not clinching an early victory. "This naturally means there will be more work and effort to be done on the part of my (campaign) volunteers and I ... but I'm excited to meet and talk to more people."
Butterfield has worked as a journalist, has been a member of the Washington State House of Representatives, and spent 11 years working for the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
He earned his law degree at Willamette University in 2003, and began working as a public defender in Dallas a year later.
Butterfield's platform has centered on reform in the district attorney's office, which he claims has not been aggressive in bringing enough cases to trial.
"I do think people are frustrated that cases aren't being pursued," he said.
Felton, 41, who monitored the results online at his home with family and friends, said he expected to win, "but with three candidates in the race, a runoff was extremely possible."
After graduating from Willamette University in 1995, Felton served as counsel to the labor and judiciary committees of the Oregon House of Representatives.
He has been an advocate in Marion County Juvenile Court, and worked as a deputy district attorney in Polk County from 1999 to 2005.
Felton said he would continue stumping door-to-door in the next few months "and carrying forth a message of strong law enforcement, community cooperation and crime prevention."
Butterfield, noting Felton's stint in the Polk DA's office, said the fact that "63 percent of the voters didn't support Felton indicates that they want a change in the status quo."
Felton said he was confident he could close the gap between himself and Butterfield in the next few months.
"Look at the undervote," Felton said, referring to the more than 4,000 individuals who cast ballots without making a selection for district attorney.
"That simply means that candidates need to continue to talk to folks in the county," he said. "We have a good opportunity now to do that."
Butterfield garnered 8,816 votes in the May 20 vote-by-mail primary. Felton received 6,925 and Fagan got 2,749. The undervotes Felton referred to totaled 4,712.
For more information on the candidates:
www.stanbutterfield.com and www.aaronfelton.com.