Eight Months of Campaigning and $1.7 Million Later, Board of Supervisors Remains Unchanged
November 7, 2012
What does $1.7 million and hundreds of hours of campaigning get you?
On the County Board of Supervisors, an unchanged slate of elected leaders.
Three supervisors faced tough re-election challengers this year, and all three incumbents prevailed based on preliminary Wednesday morning election data, despite fierce ground campaigns by the opposition.
Unofficial vote counts Wednesday showed Dave Potter leading over Marc Del Piero by 8 points, and Fernando Armenta edging out Tony Barrera by 8 points. In the June primary, Jane Parker beat Byrl Smith with a hefty 13-point margin.
Eight candidates for supervisor spent a total of about $1.7 million on their primary and general election campaigns, records show. Federal bankruptcy trustee and former county supe Marc Del Piero entered the race late, after Pacific Grove Mayor Carmelita Garcia was already fundraising for the primary.
Still, he raised nearly $310,000. More than half of that came from the open space advocacy group North Salinas Valley Fund for Responsible Growth and its supporters.
Del Piero beat Potter by five votes in the primary, but came up 500 votes short on Wednesday morning.
While it's still too soon to call either race as remaining ballots are tallied, Armenta's and Potter's teams were celebratory.
"I'm just happy," Armenta says. "I have to reflect on this election, and I need a couple of months to do that and think, 'What is it I’m go to do different representing District 1?'"
Barrera narrowly beat his fellow councilman Sergio Sanchez in the June primary for a shot at yesterday's race, and significantly narrowed Armenta's 20-point lead in June, but not by enough to win the county seat.
Armenta speculates that his less-than-favorable stance on the controversial fumigant methyl iodide hurt him politically, jeopardizing support from ag. "That politically cost me big time," Armenta says. "But I’m willing to do the right thing: fight for the underdog, for farm workers, for poor people."
Armenta sees Barrera as a potentially formidable candidate for the same seat in 2016. As for his own career, "I’m not sure what I’m going to do in four years."
For Potter, a Democrat who in recent weeks has seen support come from Republican and traditionally conservative corners, the campaign was as well-fought as it could've been, even if his edge shrinks as more ballots are counted.
"I'm very impressed with what we've done," he says. And even though many of his erstwhile allies moved to Del Piero's ticket, promoting a platform of slow growth and transparency in government, Potter welcomed the tough contest. "Running unchallenged is not good for the public process," he said.