Results from Tuesday’s General Election in Santa Barbara County offered surprises, expected results, the elation of victory and the disappointment of defeat for candidates and supporters alike.
With some mail-in and provisional ballots yet to be counted, it's possible — but not likely — that some results could change.
The Registrar of Voters Office reported that 90,420, or 41.59 percent, of the county’s 217,417 registered voters cast ballots, either at precinct polling places, by mailing them in or by dropping them off at the county’s three Elections Offices.
In addition to state and federal officials, county citizens made decisions on local city, school and special district leaders, two city cannabis tax measures, a school district parcel tax, a school bond issue, a college bond issue, and two proposals to create an independent supervisorial redistricting commission.
Unofficial results from almost all the races and ballot measures were posted online by midnight, with the few outstanding ballots tallied shortly thereafter, although officials expect to count the last of the mail-in votes and most of the provisional ballots by Friday.
Official results must be reported by Thursday, Dec. 6.
Below is a summary of who and what North County voters supported and rejected by how many votes, based on unofficial results.
Note that percentages may not add up to 100 in each case due to rounding off to one decimal point and, in most cases, write-in votes not being included.
Santa Barbara County
Voters were asked to choose between two competing measures to create an independent commission to redraw the supervisorial district boundaries and picked the “You Draw the Lines” ordinance proposed by the Board of Supervisors over the initiative put forth by the Reason in Government citizens group.
Measure G2018, the “You Draw the Lines” ordinance, garnered 41,504 “yes” votes for 52.3 percent and 37,853 “no” votes for 47.7 percent.
Measure H2018, the initiative from Reason in Government, picked up 25,140 “yes” votes for 32.8 percent and 51,576 “no” votes for 67.2 percent.
A transition to electing Santa Maria City Council members by district, rather than at-large, launched with two districts in this election.
In District 3, Gloria Soto won the seat with 1,032 votes, or 47.3 percent, over Councilman Michael W. Moats with 988 votes, or 45.3 percent, and Raymond Acosta with 150 votes, or 6.9 percent.
In District 4, incumbent Etta Waterfield scored a solid victory with 2,692 votes, or 61.1 percent, over Rafael “Raffa” Gutierrez with 1,691 votes, or 38.4 percent.
City voters firmly approved the Public Safety/Essential Services Measure, or Measure U2018, with 7,393 “yes” votes, or 71.9 percent, over 2,886 “no” votes, or 28.1 percent.
The approval will extend the previously approved Measure U2012 sales and use tax at a rate of 1 cent until ended by voters, with proceeds to be used for neighborhood police patrols, firefighter staffing, gang suppression and enforcement, crime, graffiti and vandalism prevention, improving medical aid call response times and programs for the library, recreation, homelessness and at-risk youths.
The city of Lompoc also transitioned to electing City Council members by district with this election and chose a mayor in a tight race.
For the mayor’s seat, Jenelle Osborne pulled in 2,959 votes, or 50.8 percent, to edge out James Mosby, who picked up 2,811 votes, or 48.3 percent.
In District 2, Councilman Victor Vega scored a solid win with 552 votes, or 65.6 percent, compared to Shirley Sherman’s 286 votes, or 34.0 percent.
For the District 3 seat, Dirk Starbuck won handily with 889 votes, or 59.6 percent, over Robert Cuthbert with 595 votes, or 39.9 percent.
Lompoc voters gave strong approval to a cannabis tax, actually a range of taxes on various types of cannabis businesses, through Measure D2018 with 4,433 “yes” votes for 75.7 percent over 1,424 “no” votes for 24.3 percent.
In Guadalupe’s City Council race for two seats, voters chose Liliana Cardenas with 469 votes, or 42.8 percent, and Eugene Anthony Costa Jr. with 227 votes, or 20.7 percent, over M. “Manny” Estorga with 205 votes, or 18.7 percent, and Richard Jenne II with 188 votes, or 17.2 percent.
Councilman Ariston Julian, whose council term was expiring, was the only candidate for mayor and received 574 votes for 94.1 percent, while 36 ballots had write-in votes for 5.9 percent.
Santillan Michaud, the only candidate for city treasurer, received 543 votes for 94.1 percent, with 34 ballots having write-in votes for 5.9 percent.
The write-in votes for Guadalupe’s mayor and treasurer tied for the highest percentage of write-ins among the North County races.
The Buellton mayor and four City Council seats — two four-year terms, a four-year term temporarily shortened to two years, and a vacant four-year seat with two years left on its term — were up for election.
Incumbents Ed Andrisek and Dave King will be returned to four-year seats, with Andrisek pulling in 835 votes, or 29.9 percent, and King picking up 682 votes, or 24.4 percent.
As the third-place vote getter, incumbent Art Mercado with 672 votes, or 24.1 percent, will take the shortened two-year seat that will revert to a four-year term with the 2020 election.
Challenger Judith Dale, who was also seeking a four-year seat, received 582 votes, or 20.8 percent.
In the race for the vacant seat with two years remaining on the term, Andrew John Sanchez pulled in the most votes with 473 for 42.3 percent, followed by Robyn Albrecht Caplan with 358 votes, or 31.8 percent, and Elysia Lewis with 291 votes, or 25.8 percent.
Running unopposed, incumbent Mayor Holly Sierra garnered 1,031 votes for 95.5 percent, while 49 ballots had write-in votes for 4.5 percent, among the highest percentages for write-ins among the North County races.
The mayor’s seat and three City Council seats were up for election in Solvang, where voters were also asked to approve a cannabis tax.
In the mayor’s race, Councilman Ryan Toussaint pulled in 1,025 votes, or 59.4 percent, to end the decade-long reign of incumbent Jim Richardson, who gathered 696 votes, or 40.3 percent.
In the council races, appointed incumbent Karen Waite held onto the remaining two years of a four-year term by gathering 922 votes, or 56.7 percent, compared to former council member Edwin Skytt’s 698 votes, or 42.9 percent.
The two four-year seats up for election went to Robert Clarke with 725 votes for 24.4 percent and Niels “Chris” Djernaes with 715 votes for 24.1 percent.
Incumbent Joan Laird Jamieson finished third with 593 votes for 20.0 percent, and challengers Kim K. Jensen trailed with 546 votes for 18.4 percent and Denise El Amin followed with 294 votes for 9.4 percent.
Kenny “Esko” Lama Newyork, who dropped out of the race but still appeared on the ballot, received 87 votes for 2.9 percent.
Voters overwhelmingly approved the cannabis tax through Measure F2018, which gathered 1,347 “yes” votes for 80.3 percent compared to 330 “no” votes for 19.7 percent.
Allan Hancock Joint Community College District
Voters in Allan Hancock Joint Community College District’s Trustee Area 3 returned incumbent Larry Lahr to the board of trustees with 2,269 votes, or 59.3 percent, compared to 1,539 votes, or 40.2 percent, for challenger Jesse Ramirez.
But voters throughout the district effectively rejected Measure Y2018, a $75 million bond issue to replace outdated, inadequate and deteriorating buildings, when it failed to reach the 55-percent approval it needed to pass.
In fact, the measure received more than 55 percent in negative votes. It gathered only 15,929 “yes” votes for 44.8 percent, but pulled in 19,639 “no” votes for 55.2 percent.
Santa Maria Joint Union High School District
Three seats on the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District Board of Trustees went to Carol Karamitsos with 12,799 votes for 31.2 percent, incumbent Diana Perez with 10,774 votes for 26.3 percent and incumbent Dominick Palera with 9,843 votes for 24.0 percent.
Challenger David E. Baskett garnered 7,215 votes for 17.6 percent.
The district had the highest number of write-in votes among the North County races with 368 for 0.9 percent.
Santa Maria-Bonita School District
Two seats up for election in the Santa Maria-Bonita School District were reclaimed by incumbents Ricky Lara, who pulled in 4,781 votes for 33.1 percent, and Vedamarie R. Alvarez-Flores, who gathered 4,077 votes for 28.3 percent
They defeated challengers Abraham Melendrez, who garnered 3,320 votes for 23.0 percent, and Gary Michaels, who received 2,166 votes for 15.0 percent.
Lompoc Unified School District
Voters in Lompoc Unified School District were faced with filling a short-term seat and a long-term seat on the board of education as well as deciding whether to authorize the district to issue bonds to improve their schools.
The short-term seat up for election went to William “Bill” Heath with 4,327 votes, or 50.8 percent, over Timothy C. Moncier with 2,138 votes, or 25.1 percent, and Alan Skinner with 2,027 votes, or 23.8 percent.
The two long-term seats were won by Nancy Schuler-Jones with 4,813 votes, or 34.3 percent, and incumbent Steve Straight with 4,308 voters, or 30.7 percent.
Gloria U. Grijalva finished third with 3,071 votes, or 21.9 percent, and Deb Andrews was fourth with 1,754 points, or 12.5 percent.
But in its third attempt in two years, the district was unsuccessful in getting voters to agree to a bond issue to improve the schools their children attend.
Measure E2018, which would authorize issuing up to $79 million in bonds, fell short of the 55 percent approval it needed to pass, garnering 4,498 “yes” votes for only 48.7 percent but 4,746 “no” votes for 51.3 percent.
Guadalupe Union School District
In Guadalupe Union School District, the three seats up for election were returned to the three incumbents — Diana R. Arriola with 431 votes for 28.6 percent, Sheila Maria Costa Cepeda with 365 votes for 24.2 percent and Mary Lou Sabedra-Cuello with 362 votes for 24.0 percent.
Challenger Raul Rodriguez Jr. picked up 333 votes for 22.1 percent.
Orcutt Union School District
With none of the incumbents seeking re-election, voters in Orcutt Union School District filled three governing board seats with Mark Steller, who garnered 5,072 votes for 24.4 percent, Melanie Waffle, who pulled in 4,684 votes for 22.5 percent, and Shaun Henderson, who gathered 3,946 votes for 19.0 percent.
They were followed by Eric Melsheimer with 3,665 votes for 17.6 percent and Laurel Ciervo with 3,322 votes for 16.0 percent.
The district was another of the North County races with a high number of write-in votes at 110 for 0.5 percent.
Cuyama Joint Unified School District
Two challengers for two seats up for election in the Cuyama Joint Unified School District won voters’ approval, with Heather Lomax gathering 120 votes for 42.7 percent and Whitney Nichole Goller pulling in 116 votes for 41.3 percent.
Incumbent Juan Gonzalez received.43 votes for 15.3 percent.
Buellton Union School District
Voters in Buellton Union School District saw no board members on the ballot but were asked to approve Measure A2018, which would impose a tax of $99 per year on each parcel in the district — except those owned by senior citizens — for a period of eight years to improve the educational program and expand student health and wellness services.
But the measure, which was expected to raise $240,000 to $250,000 per year, failed to gain the 66.6 percent of favorable votes it needed to pass, pulling in only 928 “yes” votes for 60.4 percent and 608 “no” votes for 39.6 percent.
Santa Ynez Valley Union High School District
Of the 11 candidates running for the Santa Ynez Valley Union High School District Board of Trustees, the lone incumbent and two challengers were picked by voters for the three available seats.
Incumbent Jan Clevenger led the trio with 3,084 votes for 21.6 percent, followed by Tory Babcock with 2,378 votes for 16.7 percent and John L. Baeke with 1,304 votes for 9.1 percent.
They were trailed by rest of the field — Eric J. Zivic with 1,212 votes for 8.5 percent, Carl Johnson with 1,132 votes for 7.9 percent, Elizabeth S. Breen with 1,064 votes for 7.5 percent, Tyler Sprague with 989 votes for 6.9 percent, Eileen Preston with 954 votes for 6.7 percent, Kros Andrade with 823 votes for 5.8 percent, Lori Parker with 703 votes for 4.9 percent and Jessica Yacoub with 602 votes for 4.1 percent.
Santa Maria Public Airport District
One short-term seat up for election on the Santa Maria Public Airport District board was returned to incumbent Steven M. Brown with 8,942 votes, or 51.7 percent, over challenger Jim Bray with 8,242 votes, or 47.6 percent.
The district was among the North County races with a high number of write-in votes with 120 for 0.7 percent.
Lompoc Valley Medical Center
Voters chose to fill the three seats up for election on the Lompoc Valley Medical Center Board of Directors with the three challengers — Christopher Lumsdaine with 5,087 votes for 24.9 percent, Leslie M. Kelly with 4,315 votes for 21.1 percent and Elham “Ellie” Novin-Baheran with 3,291 votes for 16.1 percent.
They’ll replace appointed incumbent Sharon L. Martinez, who garnered 2,686 votes for 13.2 percent, and incumbents Roger J. McConnell, who pulled in 2,495 votes for 12.2 percent, and Mary Sharp, who received 2,475 votes for 12.1 percent.
Vandenberg Village Community Services District
Two seats on the Vandenberg Village Community Services District Board of Directors went to challengers — Daniel Redmon with 864 votes for 28.4 percent and Katherine Ann Stewart with 806 votes for 26.4 percent.
Incumbent Charles E. Blair received 745 votes for 24.4 percent, and challenger Steven W. Heuring received 624 votes for 20.5 percent.
Mission Hills Community Services District
Two seats on the Mission Hills Community Services District Board of Directors went to newcomer Karina M. Naughton with 518 votes for 37.0 percent and incumbent Bruce Nix with 453 votes for 32.4 percent.
Incumbent James M. MacKenze received 366 votes for 26.1 percent.
Although the number wasn’t especially high at 63, the percentage of write-in votes for the district was among the highest in the North County at 4.5 percent.
Santa Ynez Community Services District
The incumbents for two seats on the Santa Ynez Community Services District Board of Directors were ousted by voters in favor of the two challengers.
Robert P. D’Ambra led the field with 464 votes for 29.6 percent, followed by David Beard with 420 votes for 26.8 percent.
They were trailed by incumbents Dave Seymour with 350 votes for 22.4 percent and David K. Higgins with 331 votes for 21.1 percent.
Santa Ynez River Water Conservation District, Improvement District No. 1
All three incumbents held off challengers to retain their seats on the Santa Ynez River Water Conservation District, Improvement District No. 1 Board of Trustees.
R. Brad Joos retained his at-large seat with 2,004 votes for 63.3 percent, holding off challenger Allen Anderson with 1,137 votes for 35.9 percent.
In the Division 2 race, Jeff Clay was returned to his seat with 547 votes, or 66.3 percent, while challenger Anita Finifrock gathered 275 votes, or 33.3 percent.
Kevin Walsh held onto his Division 3 seat with 416 votes, or 51.2 percent, leaving challenger Brian Schultz with 396 votes, or 48.7 percent.