An unprecedented amount of money raised by her challenger wasn’t enough to beat her grassroots campaign, 2nd District Supervisor Janet Wolf said Tuesday night, after she defeated Goleta City Councilmember Roger Aceves with 56 percent of the votes. “He raised a ton of money and we beat him on the ground,” she said, in between hugging the 100-plus supporters who joined her at the Boathouse restaurant at Hendry’s Beach.
Chants of “four more years” started later in the evening at Wolf’s celebration, which was lively from the first release of numbers. “I’m very happy. I’m pleased for the community,” said Wolf, who’s looking forward to budget discussions next week. “I’m proud of the people who worked on my campaign. I think they knew what was at stake.” Wolf, securing her third term on the dais, won by a higher percent than in her 2010 primary, when more people cast ballots.
As of Monday, Aceves, who announced his campaign in September, had raised approximately $470,000, trumping Wolf’s $305,000, as well as the war chests assembled in all of the other county races and all of the 24th District congressional races minus incumbent Lois Capps. Aceves saw huge financial support from Santa Maria Energy, the Chumash, ERG Operating Company, and real estate and development interests. Wolf’s largest donations — $90,000 — came from the Service Employees International Union.
Aceves, who enjoyed a 100-person crowd at Harry’s Plaza Cafe, said after all the votes were counted that he was “surprised at the end result” but that it wasn’t unexpected given the primary’s low turnout. “I’m very pleased with the campaign we ran,” he said. “We ran on the issues. And the issues are as relevant now as they were yesterday.” Aceves pointed to Goleta Beach Park in particular, which looked as if it — and the decision to keep the park’s rock revetments in place or not — would define the race; Aceves and Wolf both took the same stance, to keep the rocks. Aceves said that he and the rest of the Goleta City Council will work with the county as it moves forward with the Coastal Commission. He added that he will decide later about whether he will seek another term on the council in November.
Although no party was had on either side of the issue, Measure M was rejected by voters, albeit narrowly. With nearly 55,000 ballots cast, more than 51 percent of voters said “no” to the maintenance ordinance, which would have required the supervisors to annually allocated anywhere from $18 million to $44 million to pay for the upkeep of county-owned roads, parks, and buildings. The measure was spearheaded by Supervisor Peter Adam but assailed by many others, including all of his fellow supervisors, Sheriff Bill Brown, and District Attorney Joyce Dudley — all of them said the measure would spell doom and gloom for public safety and social services budgets. “When it’s this close, everybody played a critical role,” said 5th District Supervisor Steve Lavagnino, who fought the measure but wants the board to come up with a “phased-in” solution to the maintenance costs.
Sheriff Bill Brown will remain the county’s top cop, as he defeated challenger Sgt. Sandra Brown with 57 percent of the vote. The planned North County Jail and overall department morale became the biggest issue in that race, but the sergeant (no relation to the Sheriff) failed to garner much momentum. Bill Brown’s party was triumphant early at the Butler Event Center. “I feel good. I’m really proud of the campaign that we ran,” he said just before 8 p.m., noting the “wonderful” department that he will continue to lead.
All those running unopposed in the county easily claimed victory, including District Attorney Joyce Dudley and 5th District Supervisor Steve Lavagnino. State Assemblymember Das Willians beat challenger Ron Deblauw to keep his seat.
Congressmember Lois Capps handily won one of two spots on the November ballot and will face off against Republican Chris Mitchum, who she pinpointed as her opponent in her ads. Mitchum scored 15.6 percent of the vote, with 15,927 ballots cast in his favor. He narrowly beat out Republican Justin Fareed, who earned 15,013 votes. Santa Barbara City Councilmember Dale Francisco came in fourth.
As of press time, the state races were showing only half of precincts reporting. Governor Jerry Brown cruised to the November ballot, where he will vie for a record fourth term against either Republican Tim Donnelly or Republican Neel Kashkari. Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom will likely face Republican Ron Nehring; Democrat Alex Padilla and Republican Pete Peterson will likely square off for Secretary of State; Treasurer, Democrat John Chiang, looks headed to a battle with Republican Greg Conion; Attorney General Kamala Harris will fight either Republican Ronald Gold or Republican Phil Wyman; and the race for Controller is locked between Democrats John Perez and Betty Yee and Republicans David Evans and Ashley Swearengin.
Overall, Santa Barbara County saw a 29 percent voter turnout, with approximately 57,000 of the 193,900 registered voters casting ballots.