December 1, 2023

Two council candidates drop out as others wait for approval to get on ballot

Ashland City Hall on a quiet Thursday afternoon in winter. Drew Fleming photo
August 16, 2022

Currently six candidates, including one incumbent, contesting three council seats

By Stephen Floyd,

Two candidates have dropped out of the race for Ashland City Council as the city waits on signature verification to release the forms of additional candidates who filed by the Aug. 8 deadline.

City Recorder Melissa Huhtala confirmed Jon Merripen and Linda Peterson Adams have withdrawn their applications for positions two and six, respectively.

Huhtala also said she is waiting to hear from Jackson County to confirm the signatures of additional candidates and will post candidate information after this step is complete.

As of Tuesday afternoon, no additional candidate information had been published on the city’s website.

Applications for city office were due Aug. 8 for candidates to appear on the Nov. 8 ballot, and numerous positions were up for grabs including three city council seats.

Councilor Tonya Graham has filed for re-election, while councilors Stefani Seffinger and Stephen Jensen said they will not be running again.

Merripen was one of the candidates who filed against Graham, but on Saturday Huhtala confirmed he had withdrawn his candidacy. However Merripen’s withdrawal form was not published as of Tuesday and he did not return a request for comment prior to deadline.

Also filed against Graham is Joy Fate, a retiree with a background in local broadcast media who currently serves on the Ashland Housing and Human Services Commission.

Peterson Adams was among those who filed for Jensen’s seat, and according to her withdrawal form she was stepping aside because of her role as field coordinator for state Sen. Jeff Golden’s re-election campaign. She said this role has become “all-encompassing” as Golden is “being targeted by big, out-of-state GOP money.”

“I believe holding (Golden’s) seat must be a top priority for pro-choice and climate action advocates, such as myself,” she said.

Peterson Adams also said fellow candidate Eric Hansen, owner and CEO of True South Solar, was an “enormously capable candidate” whose commitment to Ashland would make him a “hard-working” member of the council.

“In the end, it must be about good governance and I am confident Eric (Hansen) can provide that as well as I,” she said.

Hansen is joined by Southern Oregon University theater and digital arts instructor James Falkenstein in his bid for City Council.

Seffinger’s seat is being sought by Robert Kaplan, a former community development executive with federal aid agencies, and Jill Franko, a community organizer with a professional background in finance and health care management.

Email reporter Stephen Floyd at

Bert Etling

Bert Etling

Bert Etling is the executive editor of Email him at

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