Turnout significantly higher than county and state

Once again, Hill residents from Pine Cove to Garner Valley have demonstrated their attention, if not devotion, to civic responsibility.

For the June primary, the turnout in the four Hill precincts — Garner Valley, Idyllwild, Mountain Center and Pine Cove — was 57.6 percent. Turnout in Riverside County was 35 percent and statewide turnout was 37 percent.

Depending upon the race, the choice of candidates differed slightly from the rest of the county or state. Even on the Hill, Idyllwild showed a greater tendency to cast a ballot for a Democrat than the other three precincts.

For example, in the gubernatorial race, 53.5 percent of the Idyllwild ballots checked one of the Democrats; however, in Garner Valley 71.4 percent of the ballots were cast for a Republican candidate.

In Idyllwild, Gavin Newsom garnered nearly 40 percent of the votes compared to only 22 percent in Riverside County and a third statewide. In contrast, John Cox received 56 percent of the Garner Valley votes compared to one-third of the votes in Riverside County and a quarter throughout California.

Cox also was the leading voter getter in Pine Cove and Mountain Center, although he did not collect a majority in either precinct.

Congressman Raul Ruiz, the incumbent Democrat for the 36th District, earned 50 percent or more of the votes in Idyllwild, Mountain Center and Pine Cove. But Garner Valley voters preferred Republican challenger Kimberlin Brown. She got 36 percent of the vote and collectively, the five Republican candidates captured more than 70 percent of Garner Valley’s votes.

The vote for state senator favored incumbent Republican Jeff Stone, although the differences between Idyllwild and Garner Valley were still present.

Stone was the top vote getter in each of the four precincts. In three, he received the majority of votes cast. Nearly 75 percent of Garner Valley voters favored him. But his total in Idyllwild was 46 percent, only six votes more than Democrat Joy Silver.

The Hill is included in the 71st Assembly District. Incumbent Randy Voepel had two challengers — fellow Republican Larry Wilske and Democrat James Elia. Ninety percent of the district is in San Diego County and Voepel easily won a spot on the November ballot against Elia.

However, Hill voters are not supportive of Voepel. Idyllwild and Pine Cove voters gave a majority to Elia. Voepel got about a quarter of the votes in those precincts.

Both Mountain Center and Garner Valley gave a plurality of votes to Wilske, who actually got the most votes in all of the Riverside County precincts in the Assembly District. Although Voepel received a third of the votes in Garner Valley, Wilske still out polled him with 43 percent.

In the nonpartisan District Attorney’s and Sheriff’s elections, the Hill’s votes were a little more consistent with the rest of Riverside County.

Hestrin captured nearly 60 percent of votes in all four precincts. In Garner Valley, he collected nearly 80 percent.

Countywide, Hestrin earned 66 percent of the vote. In Idyllwild and Pine Cove, he got about 60 percent, 70 in Mountain Center and 80 in Garner Valley.

Except for Mountain Center, which easily favored incumbent Sheriff Stan Sniff, the three larger Hill precincts favored challenger Lt. Chad Bianco. His largest percentage in these three was 43 percent of the Garner Valley voters.

Throughout Riverside County, Bianco got 36.3 percent and Sniff was second with 31.6 percent. They will compete through the summer and fall with the November election deciding the next county sheriff.

Former Hemet Police Chief Dave Brown got about 20 percent of the county vote and about the same on the Hill for sheriff.

On the five propositions, the Hill and the county were together on all except Proposition 68, the natural resources bond measure. Fifty-two percent of county voters cast a “No” ballot, although a majority of the state approved it. However, only Garner Valley, with 70 percent, opposed the measure. The other three Hill precincts supported it.