The County Voice

Taking a Look at County Supervisorial Election Results

Every two years on the morning after the primary and general elections, I have the fun responsibility of compiling the election results from every county supervisor race across California. It’s not a summary that can be found with one click of a mouse, but involves diving into 58 county websites. It’s fascinating, though, since the names on the ballot are more than names; they are individuals that CSAC staff works with closely and, in many cases, have done so for years. 

Counties stagger their board seat terms among their five members. For the vast majority of our 58 counties, this is the year that three of the five seats are up for grabs.  In terms of numbers, there were 166 county supervisor elections in 57 counties. San Francisco, which has an 11-member board doesn’t partake in the June primary, choosing to hold their supervisorial elections later in the year. 

Let’s take a quick look at what happened around the state yesterday. There did not seem to be any anti-incumbent sentiment in general, although a few rural counties decided it was time for new faces.  Overall, more than three-quarters of incumbents were re-elected. In fact, 40 incumbents ran unopposed, which means either their constituents believe they are doing a good job or they just don’t want to try to take over the job. 

There will be some turnover in local board chambers come January as 31 new supervisors were elected into office while another 21 seats will have a new supervisor to be determined in the general election this November. Another 14 races will pit an incumbent against a challenger this fall.  Overall, California counties could have anywhere from 52 to 66 new county supervisors. And, of course, this does not include San Francisco, which, again, marches to its own beat. 

A handful of counties will see a significantly new board composition come January. Both Modoc and Mono County will each have three new board members, as two incumbents were defeated and a third is retiring. Alpine voters ousted two incumbents in a unique way (see below) and another incumbent is retiring after two terms. Inyo voters also turned out two incumbents and a third is facing a runoff. 

It’s not every day that you see a write-in candidate make a difference in an election, but it happened twice yesterday in rural Alpine County. One write-in was actually able to defeat an incumbent while another forced a runoff in a vacating seat. Try that in Los Angeles County. 

And finally, some fun facts from our election summary:

In Tuolumne County, incumbent Gray beat challenger Matter, which means it was Gray over Matter. While in Trinity County, a Fisher beat a Farmer.

 On that note…


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