June Election Results: Favorites Hold the Line

Farr Trounces Pappas; Strong Showing for GOP in Congressional Race; All S.B. Measures Fail

Doreen Farr
Paul Wellman

Aside from larger margins of victory than perhaps expected Tuesday, Election Night proved good to Democrats and played out the way most prognosticators thought it might, with an extremely low turnout for a primary in a presidential year and no major upsets in several local races.

While the 35.8-percent turnout in Santa Barbara County and 15-percent turnout statewide was low, the votes that were cast set up two big showdowns for the general election in November: former lieutenant governor Abel Maldonado taking on incumbent Rep. Lois Capps, and former assemblymember Hannah-Beth Jackson squaring off against former county supervisor Mike Stoker.

But while those outcomes weren’t necessarily unexpected, the big winners of the night were incumbent 3rd District County Supervisor Doreen Farr, who won convincingly over Steve Pappas by more than 9 percent, and the No on Measure Y crowd, who nearly doubled up the yes votes with 65 percent of the vote.

Passing Measure Y would have given permission to developer Mark Lee to build a bridge over Arroyo Burro Creek and provide an entrance to his planned development of 25 homes. Because the bridge would pass over a bit of public parkland, it required a vote approving the private use of public space, according to the City Charter.

Early campaign mailers to voters didn’t mention the development part of the deal, only highlighting how the project would include creek restoration. But voters said nope. “It says that Santa Barbara voters do care about the environment, and they understand when an EIR says something is a Class I negative impact, they say no,” said City Councilmember Cathy Murillo, a former Santa Barbara Independent news reporter who was against the plan. “It was resounding,” attorney Marc Chytilo said of the vote. What is going to happen to the property now remains to be seen.

“Do I expect to hear from him?” Farr said after being asked about Pappas conceding the race to her. “No. I’m still waiting from last election.”

Doreen Farr, meanwhile, was in high spirits celebrating her victory over Pappas, first at her Buellton campaign office and then later at Holdren’s in Goleta. “Do I expect to hear from him?” she said after being asked about Pappas conceding the race to her. “No. I’m still waiting from last election.” After the 2008 election, Pappas not only didn’t call Farr ​— ​considered an election-night courtesy among competitors ​— ​but ended up filing a lawsuit that named her and alleged widespread voter fraud, asking the court to throw out all the votes in 15 Isla Vista and UCSB precincts, which were won convincingly by Farr.

Though Pappas’s arguments were rejected by a superior court judge, the appellate court panel, as well as criminal investigators and prosecutors, he pushed on with the idea of voter fraud in Isla Vista. Well-financed by Santa Ynez Valley Journal owner Nancy Crawford-Hall, Pappas ​— ​who is appealing a judge’s decision that he owes $525,000 in legal fees to Farr ​— ​entered the fray again in 2012, but proved himself to be uneducated on many of the important issues facing the county.

Many observers thought the low turnout might spell doom for Farr. Not only do small turnouts usually favor candidates who appeal to conservatives ​— ​in this case Pappas ​— ​but midday predictions indicated an abysmal turnout in Isla Vista ​— ​where many thought Farr needed to do well to succeed ​— numbering only in the hundreds. But Farr outpaced Pappas in both poll voting as well as vote-by-mail ballots.

That means Farr must have done well in other parts of the district, signifying not only that voters are tired of Pappas’s message but are content with the job Farr has done listening to concerns. The sitting board chair has no time to sit back and relax, however, as the Board of Supervisors is set to tackle the county’s budget, which lays out millions of dollars more in cuts, next week.

In the 4th District, incumbent Joni Gray is headed to a November runoff with rancher Peter Adam. Only 2 percent separated the two, who ran away from former Lompoc mayor Joyce Howerton in the conservative district. The runoff could be trouble for Gray, who has had many bumps in the road over the last couple of years in office. First District Supervisor Salud Carbajal easily won reelection.

For the State Senate and U.S. Congressional races, Tuesday night was not a night where trips to Sacramento and D.C. were won, but it certainly was a night where opportunities were lost.

Rep. Lois Capps coasted to victory. She flew back to D.C. early Tuesday to participate in a number of House votes but released a statement saying she was gratified and humbled for the strong support. “I look forward to meeting residents across the district in the months ahead and discussing important issues, including how we can improve our economy and create more jobs, protect Social Security and Medicare, and make college more affordable,” she said. A small group of volunteers and staff gathered at her Chapala Street office to ring in the victory.

Abel Maldonado and Brooks Firestone
Paul Wellman

Joining her in the November general election will be Maldonado, who came in second behind her 46.5 percent of the vote with 30.5 percent of his own. Former actor Chris Mitchum, who ran as the darling of the Tea Party, focusing heavily on an anti-Maldonado message, did stronger than expected, bringing in 20 percent of the vote.

Maldonado’s campaign manager took those numbers and ran with them Tuesday night. “This is a huge, huge victory for us,” said Brandon Gesicki. “We’re very happy that more than 50 percent of the voters went Republican. … It’s a devastating loss for Lois Capps.”

But Capps campaign spokesperson Jeff Millman pointed out that Mitchum beat Maldonado in voting at the polls. He theorized it was because voters had a chance to check out a May 31 Los Angeles Times article that noted the IRS is claiming Maldonado’s family agriculture business underpaid $3.6 million in taxes between 2006 and 2008, including, among other things, a $20,000 deduction for a golf club membership. “Voters have a clear distaste for people who refuse to pay their taxes,” Millman said.

Das Williams
Paul Wellman

Maldonado appeared with his wife, four kids, mom, dad, brother, and sister Tuesday at the DoubleTree hotel, speaking of being in business with his relatives by mentioning its ups and downs, perhaps a reference to his family farm’s tax troubles highlighted in recent news reports. “Sometimes it’s the most beautiful thing in the world; sometimes it’s the hardest thing,” he said. “But at the end of the day, it all comes together.”

Unfortunately for Maldonado, that’s not the only thorn in his side. Still plaguing him with Republican voters, and part of the reason Mitchum had so much success Tuesday, is that Republicans have not forgotten about then-state senator Maldonado’s 2009 vote for a compromise budget solution, or what they call the biggest tax raise in state history, in which he gave his vote in exchange for ​— ​among other things ​— ​getting the new open primary on the ballot. The open primary allows the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, to run in the November runoff. On the new system that he ushered into law, Maldonado said he is pleased with how it’s turned out. “The one who’s going to win [in November],” he promised, “is the one who can reach out to independent voters. … You’ve got to change the politician.”

Mike Stoker
Paul Wellman

The spin was also in at the Brewhouse, where Mike Stoker, a regular patron, was having a good old time and explaining that there is so much dislike for Jackson that the 13.5 percent for firefighter and Oxnard Harbor Commissioner Jason Hodge ​— ​a Democrat ​— ​should be topped onto his total, thus leaving him in a position to win in the fall.

He also took the opportunity to bring up Jackson’s attempt at shifting her negative nickname ​— ​which she received in 2008’s election loss to Tony Strickland ​— ​into a positive one. “She can try to redefine herself as ‘Action Jackson,’ but she’s still ‘Taxin’ Jackson,’” he said.

Hannah Beth-Jackson
Paul Wellman

Whether it’s “Action” or “Taxin’,” Jackson was celebrating with a couple hundred people at El Paseo Tuesday night, including Assemblymember Das Williams, who will face a November runoff against Rob Walter. In what was probably the most contentious local race of the election season, Jackson split the Democratic vote with Hodge ​— ​husband to Assembly Speaker pro Tempore Fiona Ma ​— ​but it was hardly even. She received 41.2 percent of the vote to his 13.5 percent. Jackson said she had to “endure the slings and the arrows in this campaign” and said it was clear the special interests don’t want her back in Sacramento. “The issues we address belong to the people and not to those special interests,” she told the crowd.

Measures W and X, parcel taxes that would have raised $16 million a year for local schools, suffered narrow defeats. Needing a two-thirds majority threshold to pass, each came within less than 2 percent of meeting that. “It’s a particularly sad outcome because we came so close,” said School Boardmember Susan Deacon in an email. “Getting a two-thirds majority vote is a very steep hill to climb, and we came within 1-2 percentage points of that. I suspect that in a November election when voter turnout is much higher, we could have reached that threshold.”

Since the funding those measures were going to replace doesn’t expire until the end of the year, the School Board could elect to try again in the November election, Deacon said.

U.S. Congress, District 24

[100% of precincts reporting]

Lois Capps: 58,327 (46.5%)

Abel Maldonado: 38,298 (30.5%)

Chris Mitchum: 25,932 (20.7%)

Matt Boutté: 3,001 (2.4%)

State Senate, District 19

[100% of precincts reporting]

Mike Stoker: 54,155 (45.3%)

Hannah-Beth Jackson: 49,271 (41.2%)

Jason Hodge: 16,146 (13.5%)

State Assembly, District 37

[100% of precincts reporting]

Das Williams: 39,868 (55.9%)

Rob Walter: 31,483 (44.1%)

S.B. County Board of Supervisors, 1st District

[100% of precincts reporting]

Salud Carbajal: 10,335 (75.9%)

Carole Lieff: 3,214 (23.6%)

S.B. County Board of Supervisors, 3rd District

[100% of precincts reporting]

Doreen Farr: 6,857 (54.51%)

Steve Pappas: 5,667 (45.05%)

S.B. County Board of Supervisors, 4th District

[100% of precincts reporting]

Joni Gray: 5,441 (39.74%)

Peter Adam: 5,160 (37.69%)

Joyce Howerton: 3,070 (22.43%)

State Ballot, Prop 28

[100% of precincts reporting]

Yes: 2,319,918 (61.4%)

No: 1,456,749 (38.6%)

State Ballot, Prop 29

[100% of precincts reporting]

Yes: 1,894,871 (49.2%)

No: 1,958,047 (50.8%)

S.B. School District, Measure W

[100% of precincts reporting]

Yes: 21,330 (64.34%)

No: 11,822 (35.66%)

S.B. School District, Measure X

[100% of precincts reporting]

Yes: 9,498 (65.01%)

No: 5,112 (34.99%)

S.B. City, Measure Y

[100% of precincts reporting]

Yes: 5,196 (34.03%)

No: 10,071 (65.97%)

S.B. Democratic Central Committee

[100% of precincts reporting]

David Pritchett: 3,080 (19.99%)

Daraka Larimore-Hall: 2,664 (17.29%)

Joe Allen: 2,648 (17.8%)

Bob Handy: 2,1923 (12.48%)

Olivia Uribe: 1,835 (11.91%)

Robert Burke: 1,609 (10.44%)

Ed France: 1,608 (10.43%)


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