Government / Politics

Local election results finalized

No recent changes in results as elections officials finish the vote counting

San Benito County officials said this year's election, the results of which were finalized on Friday, Dec. 2, brought out the largest local voter turnout in years, coming in at just under 80 percent. There were no changes as the final count came in, as most high-profile local races and measures held true to the initial results announced just after election night.

Hollister Mayor Ignacio Velazquez won a third term by earning 70.09 percent of the vote, outpacing challenger Keith Snow, while Roy Sims earned 55.35 percent of the vote to win the Hollister City Council District 4 seat — being vacated by Victor Gomez — over Tim Burns. District 1 Councilman Raymond Friend, who ran an uncontested race, took 96.29 percent of the vote.

Measure W, the 20-year extension of a 1 cent sales tax in the city of Hollister, finished with 78.88 percent of the vote, well above the 50 percent plus one vote necessary. The Hollister School District Measure V bond earned 65.02 percent of the vote and the San Benito High School District Measure U bond earned 63.85 percent of the vote, both easily passing two years after voters approved similar measures for each district.

SBHS board candidates Patty Nehme and John Corrigan won election over retired teacher and former board member Mary Encinias, and sitting Board President Ray Rodriguez and three other challengers. Incumbent Hollister School District board member Elizabeth Martinez won re-election by earning 42.48 percent of the vote. Robert Bernosky won the other seat, ousting appointed incumbent Mike Baldwin by 5 percent (31-26).

In San Juan Bautista, challengers John Freeman (31.95 percent) and Dan DeVries (28.61 percent) won spots on the city council over incumbent Mayor Rick Edge (23.39 percent) and Councilman Robert Lund (15.81 percent). Connie Schobert won election as San Juan city clerk 59 percent to 41 percent over Yolanda Delgado.

San Benito Health Care District challenger Dr. Ariel Hurtado won nearly 80 percent of the vote to oust incumbent Gordon Machado. 

Robert James Rodriguez II and Honor Spencer won the two seats on the Sunnyslope County Water District with incumbent Dave Meraz placing third, 159 votes behind Spencer out of nearly 9,500 votes cast. Mary Anne Hughes, Jason Finstad and Cassandra Spencer won the three spots on the Tres Pinos Water District, ahead of Robert Frusetta and Bobby Zaucha. Spencer had five more votes than Frusetta to earn the final spot.

Angela Curro, San Benito County assistant county clerk-recorder-registrar of voters, said more than 74 percent of registered voters requested to vote by mail or live in a mail ballot-only precinct. Compared to the past two presidential elections, in 2008 and 2012, this year's turnout was the highest of the three, helped in no small part by a contentious presidential race. Here are the numbers comparing recent elections:

2008 General            19,982 Ballots Cast / 25,355 Registered Voters (78.8% Turnout)

2012 General            19,249 Ballots Cast / 26,600 Registered Voters (72.4% Turnout)

2016 General            22,544 Ballots Cast / 28,222 Registered Voters (79.9% Turnout)

"The presidential and Congressional races were the most voted, per our current reporting results," Curro told BenitoLink. "Many of the Propositions had a large turnout of voters, too." Before the results were finalized, she noted that this year's election had the highest registration and turnout in more than 15 years and that "We think it might the be highest ever, but we don’t have electronic records to verify that information." 

To see all local election results, click here.





Adam Breen

Adam Breen has been a San Benito County resident since 1980 and graduated from Sacred Heart School and San Benito High School before earning a bachelor's degree from California State University, Fresno. A father of two sons, Adam has taught newspaper, English and yearbook at SBHS for the past decade, after six years as a magazine editor for Santa Clara University. He previously was editor of the Hollister Free Lance and content director for BenitoLink.