By JP Crumrine
On Wednesday and early Thursday, 60,000 more votes were counted in Riverside County. Consequently, several races are drawing closer. But Riverside County still has more than 250,000 ballots to count.
The most recently counted votes tended toward the Republican candidates. How many uncounted ballots are from each district is unknown.
For example, U.S Congressman Ken Calvert now has taken a lead over his Democratic challenger Will Rollins. With about 114,500 votes counted, Calvert’s lead is 453 votes. In 2020, in a different district configuration, 368,000 votes were cast in Calvert’s district. Two years earlier in 2018, 230,000 votes were counted. So between 33% and 50% of the votes in District 41 have likely been counted.
Greg Wallis, Republican candidate for the 47th State Assembly District, drew slightly closer to Christy Holstege, the Democratic candidate. But she maintains an 8,000-vote lead with nearly 75,100 counted. On Wednesday, she had an 11,200-vote advantage.
In other state legislative races, Eduardo Garcia, the Democratic Assemblyman, continues to lead his Republican opponent Ian Weeks, who has narrowed the lead to 400 votes out of 33,200 counted. In 2018, 63,000 votes were cast in Garcia’s district.
And Republican Assemblyman Kelly Seyarto expanded his lead over Democrat Brian Nash for the 32nd state Senate district seat. from 7,700 votes to nearly 25,000 with 105,100 counted.
With another 205 votes counted for the three Idyllwild Fire Protection District seats, there was no change in the order of the candidates. Newcomer Stephanie Yost is still first, followed by incumbents, Rhonda Andrewson and Dan Messina. Commission President Henry Sawicki trails and may be upset.
In 2020, turnout was about 92% and 2,350 votes were cast for three candidates. In 2018, about 2,500 votes were cast for four candidates. As of Thursday morning, 1,560 votes have been cast for the four candidates.
In the Hemet Unified School District race for District 7, which includes the Hill communities, former law enforcement officer Jeremy Parsons leads incumbent Megan Haley and challenger Al Fernandes. Parsons has a 330-vote lead over Haley with 3,600 counted.
In the only Riverside County office race, challenger Brian Benoit has expanded his lead over incumbent Paul Angulo. On Thursday morning, Benoit had 53.8% of the vote and a 17,800-vote lead over Angulo (46.2%); but many more ballots remain uncounted.
In the race for 5th District supervisor, incumbent and board President Jeff Hewitt still trails his challenger Yxstian Gutierrez, Moreno Valley mayor, by 2,660 votes with 49,500 counted.
As of Wednesday evening, it appears the Democrats swept the statewide races. Every Democratic candidate from Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state officials, including U.S. Senate, is still ahead. With the exception of Malia M. Cohen, Democrat for controller, all of the Democratic statewide candidates have garnered, at least, 57% of the vote. Cohen, with a near 400,000 vote lead, had 53.6% of the votes in her race.
So, Newsom, Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, Secretary of State Shirley N. Weber, Attorney General Rob Bonta, Treasurer Fiona Ma and Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara were all re-elected. Incumbent Tony K. Thurmond will continue as superintendent of Public Instruction.
And Sen. Alex Padilla won his election to finish the term of former senator Vice President Kamala Harris and won his re-election for a full term beginning in January.
The most recent statewide vote counts have not changed the results for the propositions on the ballot. Three (Props 1, 28, and 31) appear headed for approval and four (26, 27, 29 and 30) are losing.
California voters overwhelming declined Prop 27, the online sports wagering measure. So far, 83% of voters chose “No” and Prop 26, the sports wagering on Tribal lands, with only 70% “No” votes, also still appears defeated.
Prop 29, the third kidney dialysis proposition, could only capture support from 30% of voters.
Prop 1, the reproductive freedom amendment to the state Constitution, received a “Yes” from 65% of voters. Props 31, prohibition on sale of flavored tobacco products, and Prop 28, directing more funding to art and music education in schools, garnered 62% support.
The closest proposition contest is Prop 30, the tax on high incomes to fund zero emission vehicles, is trailing with 59% opposed.