As of Saturday evening, nearly four days after the voting booths have closed, about 373,000 ballots or two-thirds of the ballots cast in the 2018 election have been counted, according to the Riverside County Registrar of Voters Office.
Another 227,000 mail-in and provisional ballots, are still being counted. Based on the number of registered voters, 34.1 percent of voters cast a ballot, and, with the uncounted ballots, turnout this year will approach 57 percent. In 2014, the last gubernatorial election, county turnout was 40 percent and in the 2016 presidential election, it rose to 75 percent.
In the statewide races for governor though attorney general, Riverside County voters are favoring the Republican candidates. However statewide, the Democrats have won all of these races.
While a majority of the counted Riverside County ballots favored Republican John Cox, Gavin Newsom is the next governor. He is outpolling Cox with nearly 60 percent of the total state vote, a 1.7-million-vote lead.
Eleni Kounalakis will be the lieutenant governor. Alex Padilla returns as secretary of state, Betty Yee as controller and Xavier Becerra as attorney general. All have 60 percent, or slightly more, of the current ballots counted.
For insurance commissioner, Democrat Ricardo Lara has a 184,000-vote lead over Independent Steve Poizner. And Marshall Tuck and Tony Thurmond are virtually tied in the race for superintendent of public instruction.
As of noon Tuesday, Nov. 13, 1,800 votes separated them, out of 7.2 million ballots counted.
Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein will be reelected to her fifth full, six-year term, although she was first chosen senator in the 1992 election, now serving her 28th year. In Riverside County, voters favored her Democratic challenger Kevin De Leon, who has outpolled Feinstein by 3,100 votes at this point in the counting.
Statewide, Feinstein has received 54 percent of the counted ballots, which gives her a 630,000 lead.
For the 36 Congressional District, which includes all of the Hill areas, Rep. Dr. Raul Ruiz, with 57 percent of the vote, is winning reelection to his fourth term as a member of the U.S. Congress. He is leading Republican challenger Kimberlin Pelzer by 17,500 votes for the 125,760 counted for this race.
Republican Sen. Jeff Stone continues to lead Joy Silver, his Democratic opponent. At this point in the counting, Stone has 53.3 percent (92,400) of the votes and leads Silver by 11,300.
However, Silver said she is patiently awaiting the conclusion of counting all ballots before acknowledging the final results. “We haven’t conceded the election yet,” she said Thursday. “Let’s see how much is left to count.”
As noted earlier, the registrar acknowledges that about 225,000 ballots have not been counted and has not identified which precincts these ballots are from.
In the local Assembly seat District 71, incumbent Republican Randy Voepel will easily defeat James Elia, his Democratic opponent. Voepel has garnered about 65 percent of Riverside County votes, slightly more than his 62.2 percent in San Diego County, which represents about 90 percent of the district.
In the Riverside County sheriff’s race, Lt. Chad Bianco has unseated incumbent Sheriff Stan Sniff. With 321,600 ballots counted, Bianco has a 41,500-vote lead.
Disappointed in the results in his third election, Sniff said, “Huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders.”
Also, there will be two new members on the county Board of Supervisors. Karen Spiegel has a 2,000-vote edge over Eric Linder to replace retiring Supv. John Tavaglione in the 2nd District. Former Assemblyman Russ Bogh has a 620-vote lead over his opponent Jeff Hewitt in the 5th District, where Supv. Marion Ashley is retiring.
In the Hemet Unified School District race, four candidates are running for two seats and the incumbents are leading. Rob Davis has 37 percent of the vote and Ross Valenzuela has 24.3 percent. Challenger Adam McQueen has 20.5 percent and trailing in fourth is Jamie Swain.
HUSD’s bond measure — Measure X — is winning with 61.6-percent approval after 22,760 votes have been counted. For approval, it needs 55 percent of the total votes cast.
Fire Commission President Rhonda Andrewson is far ahead of the other three candidates in the race for the Idyllwild Fire Protection District commission. Three seats are available with four candidates.
Besides Andrewson, the other two incumbents, Henry Sawicki and Ralph Hoetger, are ahead of challenger Andy Balendy. Of the nearly 550 ballots, which have been counted, Andrewson was chosen on 509.
Both Andrewson and Sawicki said a tax measure to increase departmental revenues would be the commission’s priority in the next year. Tax measures throughout Riverside County were successful last week. Even the repeal of the notorious gas-tax increase was defeated statewide, of which Sawicki commented, “I didn’t think the gas tax would go that way.”