Veteran Eugene City Councilors Mike Clark and Alan Zelenka on Tuesday were re-elected, easily dispatching challengers in Tuesday's primary election who tried to unseat them after three terms.

With much of the vote counted in early returns, Zelenka and Clark held comfortable leads.

Zelenka, who represents southeast Eugene as the Ward 3 councilor, had 78 percent of the vote against Thomas Bruno and Hugh Paterson III. Bruno is a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel and former business owner. Paterson is a linguist and community organizer.

In a statement, Zelenka thanked ward voters for their "vote of confidence."

"It has been a privilege and an honor to work for my neighbors and learning what is important to them," he said. "I look forward to continuing to work on affordable housing, neighborhood protection, sustainability and high-tech jobs for Eugene.”

Ward 3 covers the area around the University of Oregon.

Clark, in north-central's Ward 5, was leading Christopher Dean, 54 percent to 46 percent, according to the Lane County Elections Office.

Even though Clark had a comfortable lead over Dean, he declined to claim victory. "I'm very optimistic about these first numbers," he said. "I don't like to presume or take anything for granted."

Clark said he was "lucky to have the support of some really great people," and that he is "grateful for the faith that has been invested in me by the folks in Ward 5."

Ward 5 covers north-central Eugene, east of the Willamette River. Dean is a principal broker at Bennett & Dean Real Estate.

Meanwhile, two other council incumbents — west Eugene Councilor Greg Evans and northeast Councilor Jennifer Yeh — ran unopposed and were re-elected. 

Follow Ed Russo on Twitter @edwardrusso. Email ed.russo@registerguard.com.