(June 4) All of San Bernardino County’s incumbent politicians competing in Tuesday’s primary prevailed, either winning reelection outright or qualifying for a run-off in November.
In all of the other races involving competition for open seats on the ballot, the best funded candidates consistently won, with few exceptions.
Results available mid-week included tallies from mailed-in ballots and Tuesday’s polling but were unofficial as countywide some 28,080 mail ballots received Tuesday at polling places and 4,513 damaged ballots requiring duplication still had not been counted as of early Thursday.
In the county district attorney’s race, three term incumbent Mike Ramos turned back a challenge by one of his deputy prosecutors, Grover Merritt. Of the 116,467 votes cast, Ramos captured 71,553 or 61.44 percent. Merritt garnered 44,914 votes, or 38.56 percent.
Sheriff John McMahon, who was appointed to that position in 2012 following the resignation of former sheriff Rod Hoops, received 72,889 of the 116,432 votes cast, or 62.6 percent. Paul Schrader, who works for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, picked up 25,830 votes or 22.18 percent. Cliff Harris, a former deputy sheriff in both San Bernardino and Riverside counties who now publishes a newspaper, received 17,713 votes or 15.21 percent.
County Treasurer/Tax Collector Larry Walker, who has held that post for five years since it was merged with the position of auditor-controller and has served in the capacity of auditor-controller since 1998, defeated Ensen Mason in the race for all four posts. Walker polled 86,189 of the 115,452 votes cast, or 74.65percent. Mason claimed 29,263 votes, or 25.35 percent.
The other county government incumbent in the race, Second District Supervisor Janice Rutherford, cruised to an easy victory over her opponent, retired sheriff’s department scientific division forensic technician Randolph Beasley, gathering 16,633 or 67.86 percent of the 24,510 votes cast. Beasley claimed 7,877 votes, or 32.14 percent.
Incumbent 8th Congressional District U.S. Representative Paul Cook, a Republican, comfortably outdistanced his three challengers, fellow Republican Paul Hannosh and Democrats Bob Conaway and Odessia Lee.
Cook received 29,269 votes or 59.03 percent to Conaway’s 8,952 votes, or 18.05 percent, Hannosh’s 6,396 votes or 12.9 percent and Lee’s 4,969 votes or 10.02 percent.
In the 47th Assembly District, incumbent Democrat Cheryl Brown overwhelmed challenger Gil Navarro, pocketing 9,953 votes or 68.25 percent to Navarro’s 4,630 votes or 31.75 percent 14,583 votes were cast in that race.
In the 52nd Assembly District race, incumbent Democrat Freddie Rodriguez with 5,662 votes, edged Republican Dorothy Pineda with 5,218 votes, 52.04 percent to 47.96 percent. Despite their second place finishes, Pineda and Navarro qualify for the November runoff.
The incumbents in three of the county government posts up for election this year chose not to seek reelection – county assessor Dennis Draeger, county superintendent of schools Gary Thomas and Fourth District Supervisor Gary Ovitt.
Draeger endorsed his second-in-command, Dan Harp, who put on a spirited and well-mannered campaign against former State Senator Bob Dutton. Dutton, who likewise conducted an intense but gentlemanly campaign, narrowly won with 58,102 votes, or 50.14 percent of the 115,868 cast to Harp’s 57,766 or 49.86 percent.
In the race for county schools superintendent, Ted Alejandre, who was promoted to vice superintendent last year by Thomas as a ploy to increase his electability, gained the position by pulling 60,585 or 55.01 percent of the 100,144 votes cast, and dousing the electoral hopes of Rita Ramirez Dean, whose candidacy was endorsed by 32,721 or 29.71 percent of the voters, and Frank Garza, who managed to land 16,838 votes or 15.29 percent.
In the election for Fourth District Supervisor, two well-known and well-financed candidates, Congresswoman Gloria Negrete-McLeod, a Democrat, and State Assemblyman Curt Hagman, who is also chairman of the county Republican Central Committee, are seeking to replace Ovitt. Two others, Democrat Paul Vincent Avila, an Ontario city councilman, and Republican James Na, a Chino Valley Unified School District board member, also ran. The race proved a tight one between Negrete-McLeod and Hagman, with Negrete McLeod capturing 7,796 votes or 42.99 percent and Hagman hauling down 7,276 votes or 40.12 percent. Avila boasted the support of 1,370 or 7.55 percent. Na, who withdrew from the race early and did not campaign but remained on the ballot, drew 1,694 votes or 9.34 percent.
In the 31st Congressional District race, which was thrown wide open when incumbent Republican Gary Miller elected not to seek reelection earlier this year, anti-drug crusader Paul Chabot, a Republican launched himself well ahead of the pack, which was composed of two other Republicans and four Democrats. Democrats actually have a seven percent registered voter advantage over the Republicans in the 31st. Chabot’s 11,329 votes, or 26.79 percent, placed him well in front of the second place finisher, Pete Aguilar, the Democratic mayor of Redlands, who claimed 17.42 percent of the vote, or 7,368. Aguilar only slightly edged Lesli Gooch, one of Miller’s Congressional office staffers. Gooch had 16.5 percent of the vote, i.e., 6,978 votes. The other Republican in the race, Ryan Downing, had the weakest showing, copping 1,421 or votes or 3.36 percent. The three other Democrats, Eloise Gomez Reyes, Joe Baca and Danny Tillman, polled 6,746 votes or 15.95 percent, 4,799 votes or 11.35 percent and 3,648 votes or 8.63 percent, respectively.
Despite his relatively strong showing in the primary, Chabot yet faces an uphill battle in defeating the well financed Aguilar in November, given the district’s favorable lean toward the Democratic Party registration-wise. Overall totals this week showed the Democrat candidates in the 31st District outpolling the Republicans 53.15 percent to 46.85 percent.
In San Bernardino County’s Assembly District 33, one Democrat faced off against nine Republicans. The Democrat, John Coffey, led all of the others with 7,988 of the 33,694 votes cast, or 23.71 percent. But Coffee will yet need to face the second place finisher, big Bear Mayor Jay Obernolte in November. Obernolte with 6,295 votes or 18.68 percent, edged out Michelle Ambrozic, who took third place with 5,755 votes or 17.08 percent. Given the number of ballots yet to be counted, Ambrozic at press time had not conceded defeat. Others in the race were Rick Roelle with 5,235 votes or 15.54 percent; Bob Buhrle with 651 votes or 1.93 percent; Art Bishop with 4,674 votes or 13.87 percent; Scott Markovich with 782 votes or 2.32 percent; Brett Savage with 1,427 votes or 4.24 percent; Robert Larivee, with 222 votes or 0.66 percent and Jerry Laws, with 665 votes or 1.97 percent.
In the 40th Assembly District, which is very nearly evenly split between Republicans and Democrats in terms of numbers of registered voters, Rancho Cucamonga Councilman Marc Steinorth, the only Republican on the ballot, captured first place with 16,328 votes, or 53.73 percent. He will face San Bernardino Community College Board Member Kathleen Henry in November. She captured 5,197 votes or 17.1 percent. Melissa O’Donnell carried 4,739 votes or 15.6 percent, and Arthur Bustamonte gleaned 4,123 votes or 13.57 percent.In the 42nd Assembly District, Republican Chad Mayes, the former Yucca Valley mayor, pulled in 5,156 votes or 48.78 percent to Democrat and Morongo Valley School Board Member Karalee Hargrove’s 3,208 votes or 30.35 percent. Another Republican, Gary Jeandron, gobbled up 2,206 votes or 20.87 percent.
In the 20th State Senate District race, Republican Matthew Munson outpolled his four Democratic competitors with 9,415 votes or 33.53 percent. Those four Democrats, however, captured 66.47 percent of the vote, presaging a difficult race for Munson in November, when he must face second place finisher Connie Leyva, who received 5,431 votes or 19.34 percent, which put her above Shannon O’Brien, with 4,913 votes or 17.5 percent, Alfonzo Sanchez, with 4,893 votes or 17.42 percent and Sylvia Robles, with 3,430 or 12.21.
Recently elected State Senator Norma Torres was the top vote-getter to replace Gloria Negrete-McLeod as Congresswoman in the 35th Congressional District. Torres, a Democrat, trounced the others, all of whom are Democrats, with 10,614 votes, or 65.68 percent. Anthony Vieyra had 1,303 votes or 8.06 percent. Scott Heydenfeldt captured 1,617 votes or 10.01 percent. Christina Gagnier attracted 2,627 votes or 16.26. There will be a run-off between Torres and Gagnier in November.
In State Senate 16, which covers a portion of San Bernardino County’s desert region and extends into Inyo and Kern counties, Jean Fuller, a Republican, ran unopposed and polled 8,262 votes in San Bernardino County. Prior to that race, however, Ruth Musser-Lopez. a columnist for the Sentinel, qualified herself as a write-in candidate, and with the 38 votes she received she has now qualified to compete in the November run-off against Fuller.