Winners and losers in local primary votes
It’s all over except for the counting—of absentee and provisional votes, that is. But the precinct votes for Butte County and the state are in, and they give a pretty good indication of the winners and losers in this year’s primary election.
The county elections office has 28 days to tally those uncounted votes. One county worker estimating the number at “a lot.”
In perhaps the most advertised contest, at least based on the many lawn and billboard signs erected in the county, Measure A, the county ordinance passed last year to regulate the growing of medical marijuana and then placed on the ballot via a referendum, went down to defeat, with nearly 54 percent of voters opposed.
The anti-A folks said it was too restrictive and trampled on property rights. The county supervisors who voted for the ordinance said they did so to protect neighborhoods, schools and churches from the side-effects of pot gardens: the funky smell and the potential for nefarious activity associated with such grows.
In the race to fill longtime Rep. Wally Herger’s congressional shoes, it looks like a November runoff between Republican state Sen. Doug LaMalfa and second-time Democratic candidate and tax attorney Jim Reed. In that race of eight candidates, including five Republicans, LaMalfa grabbed 38 percent of the vote followed by Reed’s 25 percent. The top two will face off in the fall.
Former state Sen. Sam Aanestad, who fiercely battled LaMalfa for the spread-out Republican vote, attracted only 14 percent of those cast. Last month Aanestad accused LaMalfa’s chief of staff of violating state campaign laws by posting a mock website that criticized Aanestad’s voting record and said he was not really an oral surgeon, as he has long claimed to be. Aanestad has filed a lawsuit against LaMalfa’s campaign team.
Aanestad drew a little heat himself when word came out that, while attending a Tea Party meeting in Paradise in April, he said President Obama was a Muslim.
Pete Stiglich, a Republican who ran against Herger two years ago, got 6 percent of the vote, as did Redding attorney Michael Dacquisto, who was endorsed by the Redding Record Searchlight.
The politically conservative Chico Enterprise-Record editorial board was so disgusted with the LaMalfa-Aanestad brouhaha that it chose to make no endorsement. This paper, of course, endorsed Reed. The rest of the votes were grabbed by Democrat Nathan Arrowsmith (5 percent), unaffiliated Gary Oxley (3 percent) and Republican Gregory Cheadle (3 percent).
In the 3rd Assembly District race, incumbent Republican Dan Logue came in first with 41 percent of the vote and will face Democrat and first-time campaigner Charles Rouse (33 percent) in November. Republican and Tehama County farmer Bob Williams received 25 percent of the vote. As in the congressional race, the Republicans split on this one, with one side accusing LaMalfa and state Sen. Jim Neilsen of using Williams to try to defeat Logue, or at least make him spend a lot of money.
Jim Ledgerwood, the Butte County Republican Assembly vice president, has called for an investigation by the state Fair Political Practices Commission “of unethical and possibly illegal activities conducted by the Bob Williams Assembly campaign.
“It is illegal for an assembly member or state senator to make an independent expenditure on behalf of a candidate or to donate to a committee for that purpose,” Ledgerwood said. “However, Williams’ campaign directly benefited from a $20,000 donation made by Assemblyman Nielsen to a committee that needed to act in a manner that was totally independent of the Williams campaign.”
In the race for the 5th District Butte County supervisorial seat, long held by incumbent Kim Yamaguchi, Paradise Town Council member Joe DiDuca came in on top with 40 percent of the vote. He will face off in the fall against Paradise businessman Doug Teeter, who garnered 25 percent. Candidates Robin Huffman (18 percent) and Mike Greer (17 percent) came up short. DiDuca’s fundraising efforts apparently paid off as he brought in $36,000 and spent $39,000, compared to Teeter’s $9,400 raised and $9,300 expended. Huffman brought in $5,800 and spent $5,400, and Greer brought in a thrifty $844 and spent only $90—his candidate filing fee.
DiDuca’s contributions included $1,500 from Chico Scrap Metal and $1,000 from the Highway 70 Industrial Park, two entities that the Butte County District Attorney’s Office has prosecuted for environmental offenses over the years. Neither is in DiDuca’s district.
DiDuca also spent a whopping $13,800 on campaign consultants, including $7,500 to longtime area Republican adviser Cliff Wagner and another $6,300 to Kim K. Yamaguchi and Associates Consulting. Perhaps not surprisingly Yamaguchi endorsed DiDuca on March 1. (Yamaguchi could not be reached for comment.)
In the 1st District supervisorial race, incumbent Bill Connelly easily defeated challenger Virgle Gage, with 67 percent of the vote.
In other Butte County measures, Biggs Unified School District’s Measure B went down with a 58 percent no vote, while Gridley’s Measure C for high-school improvements got a 51.6 percent yes vote and its elementary-school Measure D got 54 percent of the vote. Both needed 55 percent to pass.