Racing toward the finish line (again)
Recent candidates for two county offices prepare for November run-off elections
BY AMY ASMAN
It's been more than a week since the June 3 primary, and the Santa Barbara County elections office is still hard at work counting the approximately 2,000 remaining provisional ballots in order to make the county's election results official.
Voter turnout was considerably low this time around, with about 25 percent of local voters casting their ballots, making the neck-and-neck races for local offices even more heated.
According to unofficial election results released by the county elections office, 1st District Santa Barbara County Supervisor incumbent Salud Carbajal was the only candidate to walk away with a landslide win--which shouldn't come as a surprise, considering he was the only candidate listed on the ballot.
Fellow Santa Barbara County Supervisor incumbent Joni Gray recaptured her position representing the 4th District, leading challenger and former Santa Maria Police Chief John Sterling by about 13 percent at the polls.
However, the other two big races in the county--3rd District supervisor and Santa Barbara Superior Court judge--didn't yield such clear-cut results.
According to the unofficial tallies, former Santa Barbara County Planning Commissioner Doreen Farr led the five-person pack of candidates for 3rd District supervisor, with roughly 36 percent of the vote. Current Los Olivos School District Board president Steve Pappas came in second place, with about 26 percent of the vote.
The judge race faced a similar situation, with candidate John MacKinnon receiving about 40 percent of the vote, and candidate Jed Beebe receiving about 22 percent.
Since none of the candidates in either of the races was able to garner the 50-plus-1 percent of the vote required to win, the top two candidates in each race are expected to face off in a run-off campaign on the November ballot.
Technically, the county still has 28 days to make the election results official, but representatives at the elections office, and the candidates themselves, are preparing for another round at the polls.
"This was an odd election. You don't usually have three in one year," Superior Court judge hopeful Beebe told the Sun. "It seemed like there wasn't a lot of excitement about this election."
Third District supervisor candidate Farr agreed: "There was unexpectedly lower voter turnout at this primary.
But that's not going to be an issue in the fall."
Both Beebe and Farr are already preparing themselves for a second campaign leading up to the general election.
"I'm going to have to work harder to get the message out about my qualifications and endorsements," Beebe said.
"That's going to require more traveling around the county and more expenses, but I'm looking forward to it," he said.
Farr's approach is a little more subtle, but it's something she thinks will be just as effective.
"I think my campaign worked very well for the primary, and I'm going to do the same in the fall," she said. "I have a very positive message and I've walked all different parts of the district."
In order to combat her 10 percent lead, Farr's opponent Pappas said that he plans to take some time to "regroup" and then hit the campaign trail full force.
"I think I didn't get the message out to as many people, and as clearly as possible in Goleta and Isla Vista," he said, adding that he plans to start campaigning again around July 4.
For the record, most of the votes in the Goleta and Isla Vista precincts went to Goleta native Farr.
All of the local candidates said that campaigning has been quite an undertaking, but they are prepared to continuing battling it out for their respective positions.
Pappas, who owns and runs his own business on top of running his campaign and serving on a school board, said that he received a great deal of "incredible help" from his wife, colleagues, and staff.
Judge candidate MacKinnon also said he owed a lot of his success to support from family, friends, and the community.
"I'm honored and very humbled by all the support [my campaign] has received," he said.
Contact Staff Writer Amy Asman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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