The mathematic equation to emerge from the updated results of last Tuesday’s Santa Barbara County election is that Democratic candidates were automatically guaranteed about 60 percent of the vote, no matter how experienced or inexperienced they were. Republican candidates, in turn, took home about 40 percent, regardless of any lack of campaign cash or experience.
What makes this striking is that Democrats make up only 50 percent of registered voters, with declined-to-states and Republicans making up the rest. For example, Democratic Congressmember Salud Carbajal — a three-term incumbent — won 60.97 percent of county votes with his opponent Dr. Brad Allen winning 39.03. For the 37th Assembly seat, county supervisor and Democratic Party stalwart Gregg Hart won 59.29 percent while his Republican opponent, Mike Stoker, took 40.71 percent. Long-term City College trustee incumbent Marsha Croninger — a moderate Democrat — won with 79.9 percent, and Charlotte Gullap-Moore — a first-time candidate backed by the party — won by 61.4 percent.
Gabe Escobedo — a Democrat Party player and city planning commissioner — won a three-way race for the Santa Barbara Unified school board with 60.2 percent, and Rose Muñoz — backed by the Democrats — won with 80 percent in a two-way race. In the Goleta school district, cultural conservatives Caroline Abate and Christy Lozano posted 39 percent and 25 percent, respectively, while their Democratic-backed opponents Richard Mayer and Emily Zacarias took 60.4 and 62.9 percent, respectively.
Perhaps the biggest nail-biter of the night involved Carpinteria’s Measure T, which would have required another election to approve a plan to build a new downtown hotel on a public parking lot. The votes in all races are still being tallied, but as of the last posting, Measure T was trailing by 72. Carpinteria councilmembers Gregg Carty and Al Clark — both first-term incumbents — were forced to run against each other because of redistricting. Clark, an unapologetic slow-growther — and a registered Democrat — was decisively ahead of Carty. Otherwise, all bond measures, parcel taxes, bed tax increases and sales tax increases on the ballot passed, including a one-cent sales tax increase for the City of Goleta. As of Tuesday, November 15, 12,330 votes were still uncounted.