Election produces no surprises, chance of runoff for sheriff
By Christian Kallen
Voters largely backed incumbents and favored candidates in the June 7 primary election, a trend that, with few exceptions, was reflected statewide. To no one’s surprise, Gavin Newsom handily won his party’s vote for governor, as did the lieutenant governor, state treasurer, attorney general, and other incumbent state officers. Representatives Mike Thompson and Jared Huffman likewise easily bested their opponents, and state senator Mike McGuire overwhelmed his Republican challenger, Gene Yoon, by a 77-23 percent margin.
Under California election law, the top two vote-getters will meet again in the general election on Nov. 8, regardless of the margin of victory. Not so in the county, where a candidate who earns 50 percent plus one vote can be declared the winner without a November runoff.
This turns attention, once again, to the most controversial of the Sonoma County races, for Sheriff-Coroner to replace one-term Sheriff Mark Essick. Holding at exactly 50 percent was Eddie Engram, a current member of the department, ahead of Carl Tennenbaum with 27 percent, and Dave Edmunds, a former member of the Sonoma County Sheriff ’s Office (SCSO), with 13.5 percent. Former Healdsburg police chief Kevin Burke, whose name still appeared on the ballot despite his death in April, got over 5,000 votes (9.54 percent).
Whether Engram will avoid a November runoff with Tennenbaum depends on the late votes tabulated from mail-in ballots. Final counting is expected to conclude in about a week, but the results won’t be certified until July 15 statewide.
The only measure on the county ballot was Measure A, an extension of the Kenwood School District’s $52 parcel tax for five more years. It easily topped the two-thirds approval requirement for success, gaining support from 78 percent of voters, with only 21.5 percent opposed.
In the race for District 12 of the State Assembly, a district that covers Marin County and southern Sonoma County, a pair of Marin candidates bested the sole Sonoma County candidate and are headed to a November runoff. Marin County Supervisor Damon Connolly won 38.6 percent of the vote, with environmentalist Sara Aminzadeh close behind at 35.4 percent. Sebastopol food activist Steve Schwartz came in third, with 15.2 percent, and housing advocate Ida Times-Green fell just short of 11 percent.
Schwartz’s performance in Sonoma County was marginally better, where he gained over 20 percent of the vote, but it was Aminzadeh who won the Sonoma vote with 37.7 percent, compared to Connelly’s 30.35 percent. The top two votegetters will meet on the November ballot to decide the assembly seat.
Though the district has been reconfigured and renumbered, the former “incumbent” of District 10, Marc Levine, chose to run against Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara for that office. Though his showing in Marin and Sonoma was strong, statewide it appears Levine will come in third, behind Lara (37 percent) and cybersecurity executive Robert Howell (18 percent), with a disappointing 16.8 percent. It will be Lara against Howell in the general election.
In county offices, voters showed support for Carla Rodriguez to replace retiring district attorney (DA) Jill Ravitch. Rodriguez ran unopposed, as did clerk-recorder-assessor (and registrar of voters) Deva Marie Proto, and auditor-controllertreasurer Erick Roeser, all of whom ran as the only names on the ballot.
Sonoma County Supervisors David Rabbitt (Second District, Petaluma) and James Gore (Fourth District, Healdsburg) both had strong showings and will avoid a fall runoff with their closest opponents.
But another local race, for the county’s Superintendent of Schools, will see a runoff between top votegetters Amie Carter (44.53 percent) and Brad Coscarelli (33.53 percent), while Ron Meza Calloway garnered just under 22 percent.
Two Superior Court judges were selected by voters, though Joe Passalacqua’s current 50.76 percent may not be enough to avoid a repeat race with Oscar Pardo (49.24 percent) in November, depending on mail-in votes. The other court seat saw Laura Passaglia McCarthy win over Glen Ellen attorney John LemMon.