Election Day: Local races to track
June 7, 2016
Three of the five San Luis Obispo County supervisor seats are up for grabs Tuesday, albeit two of the races could head to November runoffs. Likewise, two candidates will emerge from a crowded field in the race to replace longtime Central Coast Congresswoman Lois Capps.
CalCoastNews will have live updates on local races starting shortly after 8 p.m.
Voters in county supervisor districts 1, 3 and 5 are casting ballots during Tuesday’s primary election. There are four candidates in the District 1 race, three candidates in the District 3 race and two candidates in the District 5 race. Any candidate who receives more than 50 percent of the vote on Tuesday will clinch a supervisor seat. In races in which no candidates obtains a majority of the vote, the top two finishers will move on to a runoff election.
There is no incumbent running in the District 1 race. Supervisor Frank Mecham is retiring when his second term concludes at the end of the year.
Vying to replace Mecham are: Paso Robles attorney Dale Gustin, Paso Robles Councilman John Hamon, Paso Robles Mayor Steve Martin and Templeton businessman John Peschong. A CalCoastNews poll conducted last month showed Peschong, a longtime political consultant, held a 13-point lead over Martin and a 22-point lead over Hamon, with Gustin trailing far behind.
Of registered voters polled, 38 percent said they were still undecided. Of those who had selected a candidate, 45 percent picked Peschong, 32 percent backed Martin, 20 percent supported Hamon and 4 percent went with Gustin. With a 5 percent margin of error, the race could go to Peschong in the primary.
The District 3 race, which includes incumbent Supervisor Adam Hill, has contained the most mudslinging among supervisorial races. Hill and his supporters have frequently attacked San Luis Obispo Councilman Dan Carpenter, one of the two challengers in the race. Carpenter has responded by calling Hill a bully. Former Grover Beach Mayor Debbie Peterson, the third candidate, has kept a distance from the barrage of personal attacks.
In mid-May, 47 percent of voters who responded to a CalCoastNews poll said they remained undecided. Of those voters who had already selected a candidate, Hill led with 43 percent, followed by Carpenter with 33 percent and Peterson with 23 percent.
District 5 is the lone supervisorial race in which there is a clear favorite to win with a majority of the vote on Tuesday. Incumbent Supervisor Debbie Arnold held a 22-point lead over challenger Eric Michielssen in a CalCoastNews poll conducted on May 15. Arnold held a 61 to 39 advantage over Michielssen, a Pozo farmer, with 36 percent of voters undecided.
In California’s 24th District congressional race, polls indicate that four candidates are battling for the top two positions: Republicans Katcho Achadjian and Justin Fareed and Democrats Salud Carbajal and Helene Schneider.
Early and recent polling have showed Achadjian, a state assemblyman, is in the lead. In early polls, Schneider, the mayor of Santa Barbara, was in second place, followed by Carbajal, a Santa Barbara County supervisor in third, and Fareed, a businessman, in fourth.
Recent polls have placed Carbajal in second, with Fareed trailing close behind and Schneider in fourth. The Carbajal and Fareed campaigns have both raised more than $1 million.
The other candidates on the ballot are: independent Steve Isakson, an engineer; Republican Matt Kokkonen, a financial planner; Democrat Benjamin Lucas, a design consultant; Democrat William Ostrander, a farmer; and independent John Ubersax, a medical researcher.
In addition to the congressional seat, the local State Assembly seat is also up for grabs. The seat is being vacated by Achadjian, who is termed out of the Assembly.
Four candidates are running for the the District 35 Assembly seat. The district consists of all of San Luis Obispo County and much of northern Santa Barbara County, including Santa Maria and Lompoc. The race includes two Republicans, one Democrat and one Libertarian. The 35th Assembly District leans Republican, but little polling on the race has been conducted.
The Republican candidates are: Jordan Cunningham, a former SLO County prosecutor and the president of the Central Coast Taxpayers Association, and Steve Lebard, a Vietnam veteran and the owner of Lebard’s Computer Center in Santa Maria. Democrat Dawn Ortiz-Legg is a public affairs representative for renewable energy companies and a member of several local boards and commissions. Libertarian Dominic Rubini is an entrepreneur and is involved in the construction industry.
Polls close at 8 p.m. Tuesday. CalCoastNews will provide live updates as results trickle in.