For Riverside County and Hill voters, the results of the June 5 primary election were essentially approval of past performance. Neither upsets nor other surprises occurred after most of the ballots had been counted.
On Friday, June 8, the county’s Registrar of Voters estimated about 18,500 more ballots remain to be counted. This includes damaged and provisional ballots. The next results are to be posted Wednesday evening, June 13. As of Monday evening, June 11, the California Secretary of State’s office estimated that about 777,000 ballots are still uncounted statewide.
Incumbents were re-elected throughout the county and in Hill districts. County Supervisor Jeff Stone easily won re-election to his third term. He collected 66.2 percent of the votes compared to 33.8 percent for his challenger Joe Scarafone.
The Hill is now part of Assembly District 71. As a result of 2011 redistricting, the triangular shaped district’s northern edge is Poppet Flats and the base is the border with Mexico. About 90 percent of the registered voters reside in San Diego County.
Republican Assemblyman Brian Jones, who currently represents most of the area, was the top vote getter. He will face Democrat Patrick Hurley in the November election. However, John McLaughlin, the second Republican on the ballot, out polled both Jones and Hurley in the Riverside County precincts.
Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack garnered 58 percent of the votes cast compared to 41.8 percent for Democrat Dr. Raul Ruiz. Now they will officially face off in the November election.
Despite much attention to the higher Democratic registration in the newly drawn district, Ruiz’s percentage of the vote was the same as previous Bono Mack challengers. Democrat Steve Pougnet garnered 42.1 percent of the vote in 2010 and two years earlier, Democratic challenger Julie Bornstein received 41.7 percent of the vote.
“I’m honored by the support,” Bono Mack said after the election. “But the real issues remain the economy and jobs. The question is no longer ‘Are we better off than in the past year?’ but ‘Will our children be better off in the future?’ I’m very concerned about that answer.”
At this point, it appears Ruiz is going to have to find a new strategy to capitalize on his party’s voter registration gains in the district.
During the build up to primary day, a lot of attention was devoted to the challenges to four incumbent Superior Court judges. But all earned reappointment to the bench from county voters. The closest of the four races pitted Judge Craig Riemer against former assistant district attorney John Henry. Riemer was narrowly re-elected with 51 percent of the votes, with only 3,700 votes more than Henry’s out of a total of 185,000 ballots cast. The other three sitting judges all were re-elected with at least 58 percent of the vote.
Proposition 28, which will modify the state’s term limit’s laws, easily received voter approval. Out of 4.4 million ballots cast the “Yes” votes were at 61.2 percent, nearly one million more than the “No” votes.
Proposition 29, which would raise the cigarette tax, ran into opposition throughout the state, particularly Riverside County. At this point, it is failing by about 33,000 votes out of more than 4.5 million counted. Nearly 60.6 percent of Riverside County voters opposed it.
One other Riverside County race, for the supervisor’s seat of the First District, remains to be decided in November. Incumbent Bob Buster did lead two challengers with 38 percent of the vote. Lacking the necessary 50 percent for victory, he will likely face Assemblyman Kevin Jeffries on the fall ballot. Jeffries has a 500 vote lead over Mike Soubirous, a former California Highway Patrol officer.