INYO GOES… PURPLE?
Election day has come and gone, and while the dust is settling in the presidential election, the results thus far for Inyo and Mono counties tell some very interesting stories.
Perhaps the most surprising story of the cycle: Inyo County, which supported Donald Trump in 2016 by a 52-39% margin, had Trump near neck-and-neck with Joe Biden late Thursday, with more results to come on Friday.
Similarly, in the 8th District Congressional race, Democrat Chris Bubser leads Republican Jay Obernolte in Inyo County, a county which Republican incumbent Paul Cook carried decisively in 2014, 2016, and 2018.
Overall, Obernolte leads Bubser district-wide with about 120,000 ballots left to count.
Mono County saw high overall voter turnout, with nearly 1,000 more voters participating in the 2020 general election than did in 2016 election. Participation among eligible voters was down slightly from 2016, 84.41% in 2016 vs. 82.17% in 2020. Biden took 3,807 votes to Trump’s 2,364 while Bubser beat Obernolte, 3,767-2,485. CA District 5 Assemblyman
Two candidates who won a plurality of votes in March dealt with runoffs on Tuesday. Rhonda Duggan defeated Joshua Rhodes, 899-580, in the Mono County District 2 Supervisor race, a 61-39% margin. In March, that margin was 48-42%, with Duggan pulling 563 votes to Rhodes’ 489 with 113 third-party votes.
Jennifer Roeser was ahead of Donald Bright in the Inyo County District 4 Supervisor race as of deadline on Thursday, with votes still to be counted by a 54-46% margin.
In March, Roeser grabbed 519 in March, with Bright getting 497 (41-40%) and Deena Davenport Conway getting 236.
Mammoth Lakes Town Council candidate Sarah Rea was the top vote-getter in that race, racking up a record 1,582 votes to claim the seat vacated by Cleland Hoff. Mayor Bill Sauser retained his seat on the council with a second place finish of 1,270 votes.
By comparison (and to illustrate the increase in voter turnout), 2016’s Town Council race, also for two seats with four running, had Hoff winning with 814 votes and Sauser placing second with 722.
The Sheet spoke with Rea on Thursday, asking her if she perceived her leading vote total as inferring any sort of mandate.
“Housing was my main platform,” she said, so perhaps yes on that score. “I also heard from a lot of people about putting a roof on the existing rink (versus building a new facility at Mammoth Creek Park).”
She attributes her win to being “young, enthusiastic and a member of the working class.”
As of Thursday, the Mono County Clerk’s office said there were about 200 ballots left to count on hand and then wahetever remaining ballots that might come in which were postmarked on or before Election Day.
Two Mono County incumbents lost on Tuesday, with Danielle Dublino beating out Jimmy Little for Eastern Sierra School Board and Sara McConnell defeating Dave Titus in the Mono County Board of Education race.
Congressional candidate Chris Bubser has not conceded, and issued this statement Thursday:
“We believe there are at least 120,000 outstanding votes and that this race will tighten over the next several days and weeks.”
From Inyo County Clerk Kammi Foote regarding overall voter turnout:
“The election has a higher number of registered voters than we have seen in decades, with 1,000 new voters (or 10%) added in the last few weeks leading up to the election. We are currently on track to reach an 80% turn-out over all, which may not be the highest percentage, but is the highest number of votes cast since I have been working in the elections office. We had almost 3,000 ballots dropped off at the polls or in a drop box on Election Day, which require signature and address verification prior to counting.”