Supervisor Majority to Flip

Written by Neil Farrell

Neil has been a journalist covering the Estero Bay Area for over 27 years. He’s won numerous journalism awards in several different categories over his career.

June 17, 2022

A political flip appears to be coming on the County Board of Supervisors, but there’ll be no changes to the Morro Bay City Council, according to unofficial election results from the SLO County Clerk-Recorder’s Election’s Office.

Dist. 2 Supervisor Bruce Gibson appears to have won a fifth, 4-year term, despite having his district radically redrawn earlier this year.

Gibson had garnered 3,956 votes for 52.98% of the vote out of four candidates. It should be noted that as of 1 a.m. on Election Night, just 7,900 of over 32,000 votes (21.48%) had been counted. However, all of the 23 precincts in Dist. 2 had reported. 

The Primary Election saw ballots mailed out to every registered voter, so at this point it’s unknown how many of the ballots were actually cast and left to be counted, until the Clerk’s Office certifies the election, likely not to happen for a few weeks. Indeed, in all the results posted by the County, mail in votes far out number those cast the traditional way — in person at polling places.

Second place is held by Bruce Jones (1,252 votes, 16.77%); Geoff Auslen (1,250, 16.74%) is third; and John Whitworth (1,009, 12.51%) fourth. If Gibson’s lead holds, he will win the seat at the Primary and avoid a November General Election runoff.

The same goes for Dists. 3 and 4, as appointed incumbent Dawn Ortiz-Legg is heading towards victory over two opponents in the Dist. 3 race.

In what has to be a first, Dist. 3 was contested using the old district map instead of the new one, which covers drastically different areas. State Law requires appointed officials to run at the first available election, using the same district boundaries as the person they replaced. This ensures that the same people whose supervisor left office get to elect the replacement.

Those new maps, which are being contested in court, are also why Morro Bay, which will move into the new Dist. 3, this year didn’t vote for supervisor, along with Los Osos, which will be in the new Dist. 5, held now by Debbie Arnold. She is up for re-election in 2024, and Ortiz-Legg will also have to run in 2024 under the new Dist. 3 map (unless it’s all changed by court order).

Ortiz-Legg, who was appointed by the Governor in 2020 to fill the seat of the late Supervisor Adam Hill, had 5,138 votes (64.88%); ahead of runner-up Stacy Korsgaden (2,519, 31.81%); and third place Arnold Ruiz (262, 3.31%). Twenty-five of 25 precincts had been counted, however, 8,395 of 38,543 ballots had been tabulated.

In Dist. 4, long-time Supervisor Lynn Compton appears to have lost her rematch with Arroyo Grande City Councilman Jimmy Paulding, as the challenger had a sizable lead. Paulding had 5,599 votes (58.3%) to Compton’s 4,005 (41.7%). It would have been Compton’s third term. All of the 29 precincts had reported but 9,880 of 40,057 ballots counted.

In Countywide Offices, Sheriff Ian Parkinson and District Attorney Dan Dow ran unopposed, as did County Assessor, Tom Bordonaro. County Auditor-Controller-Treasurer-Tax Collector-Public Administrator (ACTTCPA) James Hamilton, and County Superintendent of Schools Jim Brescia also ran unopposed. And Erin Childs was unopposed for Superior Court Judge No. 10.

In contested Countywide races, appointed County Clerk Elaina Cano is far ahead with 23,270 votes (66.79%); to second place James Baugh’s 6,272 (18%); and third place Stew Jenkins with 5,298 votes (15.21%). All 117 county precincts had reported and 38,548 of 181,894 ballots. Cano was appointed last year to fill the seat vacated by former Clerk-Recorder Tommy Gong, who resigned his office.

In the race to fill the Judge No. 12 seat, Mike Frye has 22,370 votes (67.66%) to Paul Phillips’ 10,681 (32.32%). So far 38,548 of 181,894 registered voters had been counted.

In Morro Bay, appointed Councilwoman Jen Ford appears to be easily winning her race to continue serving out the term of the late Councilman Red Davis. 

Ford had 1,212 votes (60.45%) to challenger James Costanzo’s 793 (39.55%). All four of Morro Bay’s precincts had been counted with 2,131 votes out of 8,131 registered voters.

The council race was the only issue on the ballot for Morro Bay and Ford will serve until 2024, when she’ll be up for re-election.

And Councilwoman Dawn Addis is leading the race for the 30th District State Assembly seat in SLO County, with 14,528 votes (44.59%); to second place Vicki Nohrden with 12,723 votes (39.05%). Third was Zoe Carter (2,321, 7.12%); Jon Wizard was fourth (1,845, 5.66%) and John Drake (1,162, 3.57%).

She’s doing well in Monterey County as well, getting another 8,243 votes (42.2%) to Nohdren’s 5,688 votes (29.12%). They are followed by Wizard (3,192,16.34%; Carter (1,736, 8.89%); and Drake (674,3.45%).

In Monterey, 20,882 of 87,948 possible ballots had been counted.

In Santa Cruz County, which is also part of the 30th District, the same tune is being played, as Addis has 4,308 votes (no percentages given), to Nohdren’s 2,407; Wizard’s 1,500; Carter’s 1,290; and Drake’s 737.

In California’s Primaries, with statewide and congressional offices, the top two vote getters must face off at the November General Election, so if these numbers hold, Democrat Addis and Republican Nohrden will go head-to-head.

With Addis headed to the runoff, her council seat will be vacant, unless for some reason she changes her mind and bows out of the Assembly race before the end of the Morro Bay filing period, which is unlikely. 

In Congress, incumbent Salud Carbajal won big in SLO County, taking 16,248 votes (63.85%); to second place Brad Allen with 7,557 (29.69%). Also-rans were Michelle Weslander-Quaid (1,382, 5.43%) and Jeff Frankenfield (262, 1.03%).

Those numbers hold up in Santa Barbara County too, as Carbajal leads there with 59,055 votes (62.6%) according to results posted by the SB County Election’s Office. Allen had 27,712 (29.4%); Weslander-Quaid had 6,273 (6.5%); and Frankenfield (1,340, 1.4%). Carbajal and Allen will face off in November.

These figures are all preliminary, with thousands of ballots left to count. They won’t be official until the Clerk-Recorder declares the count done and Supervisors certify the results. In Morro Bay, the race isn’t over until the City Clerk certifies it and the City Council votes to make it official.

This process normally takes a few weeks.

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