Incumbent Joan Hartmann has taken an early lead in the race for the 3rd District seat on the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors, with challenger Bruce Porter about 2,000 votes behind.
Ms. Hartmann, the current supervisor, garnered 51.77% of the vote while Mr. Porter, a retired officer of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, had received 35.81%. As of the 12 a.m.. update, 21 of the 49 precincts (42.86%) had reported, according to the county elections office.
Karen Jones (6.80%) and Jessica Alvarez Parfrey (5.11%) are also in the running.
Mr. Porter attended an Election Night viewing party Solvang Tuesday night. His campaign released the following statement on the early voting returns: “We are deeply gratified and honored by the support we’ve received in early results. We’re confident that our message of Independence and commitment to bringing a new voice to all residents resonated deeply with voters. Should the race continue to November, we are confident that we can build on this solid base to achieve victory and a win for County residents.”
Ms. Hartmann released a similar statement Tuesday night as she awaits the final vote tally.
“I am encouraged by the early returns and am proud of my campaign, which was based on integrity and my record serving the people of the Third District. I look forward to the final count,” Ms. Hartmann said in a statement to the News-Press.
In an earlier interview with the News-Press, Ms. Hartmann said she was working to bring county government to the people. She has also expressed interest in updating the county’s voting system, changing from paper copies to an online system with searchable databases.
“We need greater transparency in contributions, and I will work with legislators to enact real reform.”
Ms. Hartmann is also seeking to build more workforce housing through partnerships with UCSB, create private-sector jobs with Vandenberg Air Force Base and making all electricity for the South Coast fossil-free.
If he were elected, Mr. Porter said he would work to ensure government representatives are accessible and available, as well as take action to streamline the county Planning and Development department.
Mr. Porter also said the county has “botched” the cannabis permitting process and called for a reexamination of existing permitting regulations.
“I want to look at re-opening the public process to craft a new set of cannabis regulations that will protect communities and provide credible applicants with a reasonable framework to operate under,” he said. “I am in no means a prohibitionist, but the County needs to explore the prospect of freezing all pending permit applications (existing permit holders will not be affected) while we find a solution to these issues.”
The 3rd District includes all of Isla Vista, Western Goleta, the Gaviota Coast, the Santa Ynez Valley, unincorporated parts of Lompoc, Mission Hills, Vandenberg Village, Casmalia, Tanglewood and the city of Guadalupe.