Hill voters have an independent streak. While it may appear that voters from Pine Cove through Garner Valley have similar opinions as the rest of Riverside County, closer examination reveals significant differences.
The similarities are that about 42 percent of the county voters and Hill voters cast Republican presidential primary ballots. Locally and countywide, candidate Donald Trump received more than three-quarters of the vote.
County Supv. Chuck Washington for the 3rd District received the plurality of votes on the Hill and from the whole district. U.S. Representative Dr. Raul Ruiz also garnered more than 50 percent of the vote, against two opponents, including State Sen. Jeff Stone, locally and in the whole district.
But these similarities mask major electoral differences between the Hill and other county voters.
Most obvious is the participation in the electoral process. Overall turnout on the Hill was 66 percent. In the county, turnout was only 44 percent, and lower in many precincts.
Alpine County’s turnout reached 73 percent — registered voters total 717, less than the Idyllwild precinct — the single highest for a county.
While about four of every seven voters cast a ballot in the Democratic presidential primary, Hillary Clinton easily received the majority of the Democratic votes in the county and state. However, Hill voters wanted a different direction. Bernie Sanders received more than 55 percent of Hill votes compared to Clinton’s 43 percent — just the opposite of the countywide results.
In the Congressional District 36 primary, Ruiz got 58 percent of the county vote and 53 percent of the Hill vote, but Stone got nearly 40 percent of the Hill vote at the expense of third candidate Wolkowicz. This is nearly 25 percent more than Stone’s 31.6 percent districtwide.
Besides representing the Hill in the state Senate, Stone is the former supervisor for this area, which would explain his greater support locally.
In a reverse, Washington got nearly 50 percent of the Hill votes compared to 40 percent districtwide. His additional support came at the expense of Randon Lane, who garnered 29 percent of the total district vote, but only 20 percent from the Hill.