Voters in Inyo and Mono Counties turned out on Tuesday, March 3, to cast their ballots in a number of races both local and national.
The Inyo County results were delayed somewhat by the untimely death of a volunteer (see page four for the press release).
Mail-in ballots will not be counted until March 6 so the Inyo results below are not final.
Bernie Sanders won both counties, pulling 594 votes in Mono and 745 votes in Inyo. Former Vice President Joe Biden took second place in both races with 501 votes in Inyo and 527 in Mono.
President Donald Trump won the Republican primary in both counties handily, gaining over 2,321 votes in Inyo County and 1,148 votes in Mono County.
House of Representatives
Democrat Chris Bubser, a Mammoth second homeowner running for Paul Cook’s vacant spot in the House of Representatives, came out on top of a large field in both counties, with Republican Jay Obernolte hot on her heels. Republican Tim Donnelly finished in third in both races.
While Bubser was the top vote-getter in the region, Obernolte came in first in the district with 34,906 votes (35.2%). Bubser came in second with 27,020 votes (27.2%) and Donnelly snagging 21,490 (21.7%). Obernolte and Bubser will go head-to-head in a runoff election in November.
60% of the district’s votes were cast for a Republican candidate, signaling an uphill climb for Bubser in the general election.
But last election, a Democrat didn’t make the runoff.
In Mono County, there were 490 more votes cast for Democrats than Republicans.
State Assembly Races
Frank Bigelow ran uncontested for state assembly in the 5th district, picking up nearly 2,000 votes in Mono County.
The District 26 race for State assembly in Inyo County pitted Democrat Drew Phelps and Republican Devon Mathis.
Mathis won by 475 votes within the county.
District 26, which includes Inyo, Kern, and Tulare counties, ultimately voted to elect Mathis, the incumbent. He picked up 64.2% of the vote (35,697 votes) to Phelps’ 35.8% (19,922 votes).
The three-way battle for Inyo County Superior Court Judge saw Susanne Rizo came out on top with 2,849 votes over incumbent Brian Lamb’s 2,222 and challenger Philip Ashworth’s 615.
Lamb had recently received censure from the California Commission on Judicial Performance over untimely handling of family law matters.
Inyo Board of Supervisors
Incumbent Inyo District 2 Supervisor Jeff Griffiths retains his seat on the Board of Supervisors after defeating Heather Lind by a total of nearly 240 votes.
In District 4, Jen Roeser held a slim lead over Donald Bright 484-469 with Deena Davenport Conway pulling 175 votes in a a race that will likely result in a run-off.
District 5 Supervisor Matt Kingsley was re-elected in an uncontested race
Mono County Supes
Mono County had three supervisor seats up for re-election with only one of those races contested.
Incumbents Bob Gardner (District 3) and John Peters (District 4) ran unpposed.
District 2 saw a close race between Rhonda Duggan, Joshua Rhodes, and write-in candidate Eric Olson. Duggan bested Rhodes 493-436, but Olson pulled enough votes so that Duggan failed to reach 50% plus 1. Duggan and Rhodes therefore will face off again in November.
Current District 2 Supervisor Fred Stump opted not to run for re-election
State Proposition 13 was defeated in both counties with close to a two-thirds margin of defeat in Inyo and an 800 vote margin in Mono County and appears headed to defeat statewide.
The proposition would have allowed the state to sell $15 billion worth of bonds to fund school improvements.
Inyo’s Measure M, School Bond Measure, didn’t pass by a margin of 212 in favor and 331 against.
Measure M would have allowed the Lone Pine School District to issue up to $14 million in bonds at a tax rate of 4.5 cents/$100 dollars until 2044-2045.
Likewise, Measure F, aimed at funding the Mammoth Lakes Fire Department, fell about 42 votes short of the two-thirds majority needed to be approve it. The Final tally was 1,040-584.
Overall voter turnout in Inyo clocked in at 59.14%, up from 58.1% in the June 2016 primaries.
Mono County saw turnout rates of 51.3%, down from 61.61% during the last presidential primary in 2016.
Full results in Inyo County were delayed due to the tragic death of volunterer James “Jim” Hartshorn while delivering ballots to the Independence Courthouse.
According to the Inyo County Sheriff’s Department, Hartshorn collapsed at the historic Independence Courthouse after delivering ballots from Bishop.
CPR was initiated immediately by a local Independence resident until emergency medical personnel arrived from Independence Fire.
Although life saving measures were administered, the patient passed away of natural causes at Southern Inyo Hospital. Hartshorn was 62.
Inyo County Clerk-Recorder, Kammi Foote also added, “This was a terribly tragic event that punctuated election night, and my heart is with Jim’s family and friends during this very difficult time. I ask that the public, the candidates, and campaign workers please be patient as my staff and I work through this traumatic incident while also processing and counting ballots.”