Election Night

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Election Night Roundup: Incumbent Supervisors Cruise, Judge Kreis Falls

Posted By on Wed, Mar 6, 2024 at 8:42 AM

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Election Night in Humboldt County was low on drama, and low on turnout, too. It is unclear how many ballots remain to be counted, as will likely be the case for another week, but the Elections Office counted 20,258 ballots in its final election night report. That’s 42 percent of the final tally from the primary four years earlier.

Even with scores of ballots remaining uncounted, no local races appear in doubt.

The Humboldt Cannabis Reform Initiative, known as Measure A, which sought to overhaul cannabis cultivation regulations countywide, was resoundingly rejected by 73 percent of voters. While proponents of the measure cast it as a way to protect small farms and add teeth to existing environmental and neighborhood protections, opponents, including much of the cannabis industry, argued it was bad policy and would have dire consequences for local farms.

Embattled Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Greg Kreis’ efforts to win a second term on the bench, meanwhile, seem to have fallen decidedly short, with challenger April Van Dyke leading the race with 60 percent of the votes cast thus far. Appointed in 2017, Kreis faces a bombshell ethics complaint filed against him by the Commission on Judicial Performance about a month before Election Day. He's denied the allegations.

On the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors’ front, incumbents ran away with the races early and didn’t look back. In the First District, three-term incumbent Rex Bohn has a commanding lead over challengers U.S. Coast Guard veteran Gordon Clatworthy and Fields Landing resident Jerry McGuire, having taken 64 percent of the vote, trailed by Clatworthy's 24 percent and McGuire's 12 percent.

In the Second District, incumbent Michelle Bushnell fended off challenges from Fortuna school board member Jeana McClendon and cannabis entrepreneur Brian D. Roberts, taking 58 percent of the vote to McClendon's 36 percent and Roberts' 6 percent.

Up in the Third District, meanwhile, incumbent Mike Wilson cruised to his third term, taking 81 percent of the vote to challenger and dispensary owner Roy Gomez Jr.’s 19 percent.

The race for the Second District state Assembly seat being vacated by the retiring Jim Wood, meanwhile, remains too close to call, with Arcata-based state Democratic Party Chair Rusty Hicks (18.9 percent) and Santa Rosa City Councilmember Chris Rogers (19.6 percent) vying to join Republican Crescent City school board member Michael Greer in a November runoff. Incumbent North Coast Congressmember Jared Huffman, meanwhile, is cruising into his November runoff having taken 72.5 percent of the vote to Republican Chris Coulombe’s 17.4 percent.

There were, of course, also presidential races on the ballot, with Republican Donald Trump taking 1.1 million votes and incumbent Democrat Joe Biden notching 1.6 million votes statewide in their party primaries along percentages that tracked in Humboldt County.

Humboldt County Registrar of Voters Juan Pablo Cervantes told KMUD on Election Night he believed the county was “looking at a pretty low voter turnout” compared to 2020. Cervantes said elections staff would continue to tabulate late-arriving vote by mail ballots (and those that arrive before March 12), those dropped off at the polls and provisional ballots cast on Election Day, an effort that will extend for weeks. Post-election reports will be issued weekly until official results are certified no later than April 4.
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Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Final Election Night Report Leaves Races Unchanged: Incumbents Lead Supes Contests, Van Dyke Ahead for Judgeship

Posted By on Tue, Mar 5, 2024 at 8:39 PM

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The final Election Night report added more than 2,000 ballots to the ongoing tally, bringing the total counted so far to 20,258, but did not move the needle in any local race.

The county’s supervisorial incumbents all continue to hold comfortable leads, with Rex Bohn currently holding 64 percent of the vote in the First District, Michelle Bushnell leading with 58 percent of the vote in the second district and Mike Wilson running away with 81 percent in the Third District.

The race for a seat on the Humboldt Superior Court bench, meanwhile, has embattled incumbent Greg Kreis trailing challenger April Van Dyke with 40 percent to Van Dyke’s 60 percent.

Measure A, the Humboldt Cannabis Reform Initiative, meanwhile is being rejected decisively, with 73 percent of ballots counted so far falling in the no column.

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Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Judge Rules Voters Should Decide Cannabis Initiative

Posted By on Tue, Dec 19, 2023 at 11:57 AM

Voters will get to decide the fate of the Humboldt Cannabis Reform Initiative in March, a superior court judge has ruled.

In a five-page ruling filed last week, Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Timothy Canning rejected arguments put forward by the Humboldt County Growers Alliance (HCGA) and seven cannabis farmers that proponents of Measure A misled voters while gathering signatures to qualify the initiative for the ballot and failed to provide them with enough supporting information.

“To be clear, the court makes no findings on the merits of Measure A, as that is for the voters to decide,” Canning wrote in his ruling. “But the court does find there is in an insufficient showing of objectively and deliberately untrue facts or statements in Measure A such that the court should prevent Humboldt County voters from deciding whether or not to adopt it.”

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Tuesday, December 12, 2023

County Races Set for March Ballot

Posted By on Tue, Dec 12, 2023 at 3:32 PM

It’s official: Humboldt County will have a trio of contested supervisorial races on the March primary ballot, as well as a rare contested judgeship seat.

The Humboldt County Elections Office has confirmed candidates who qualified for local races, with the exception of those vying for Second District Assemblymember Jim Wood’s seat. Because Wood is declining to seek re-election, candidates have until the end of tomorrow to submit paperwork to qualify for the race.

With local election season now officially upon us, here’s a quick look at the races:

First District Supervisor
Joining three-term incumbent Rex Bohn in the race to represent the county’s First District are challengers Gordon Clatworthy, a 40-year-old U.S. Coast Guard veteran, and Gerald McGuire, who’s perhaps best known for recently having a coastal development permit revoked for his long-blighted Fields Landing property by a unanimous vote of the Board of Supervisors. The First District encompasses much of the southwest portion of the county, running from southern Eureka south, and incorporating Ferndale, Loleta, Scotia, Petrolia and Honeydew.

Second District Supervisor
Elected to the board in 2020, incumbent small business owner Michelle Bushnell will see two challengers in her bid to continue representing Humboldt County’s Second District, which incorporates the southeastern portion of the county, including Fortuna, Rio Dell, Garberville, Bridgeville and Shelter Cove. Challenging Bushnell in the race will be Fortuna small business owner Jeana McClendon and Blocksburg-based cannabis farmer Brian David Roberts.

Third District Supervisor
Two-term incumbent Mike Wilson, an environmental engineer by trade, is being challenged in his bid to continue representing the Third District, which includes Arcata and Blue Lake, by Eureka cannabis dispensary owner Rogelio “Roy” Gomez.

Superior Court Judge Department 1
Humboldt County didn’t have a contested judicial election in 20 years before 2018, but is now gearing up for its third since then. Challenging incumbent Greg Kreis for the Department 1 judicial seat the former conflict counsel has held since being appointed in 2017 is April Anne Van Dyke, a former Humboldt County deputy public defender who previously worked in the San Joaquin County Office of the Public Defender until 2019.
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Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Proponents, Opponents Talk Measure A

Posted By on Tue, Nov 14, 2023 at 5:53 PM

About 75 people attended a Humboldt Emeritus and Retired Faculty and Staff Association lunch meeting to hear opponents and proponents discuss the Humboldt Cannabis Reform Initiative. - MARK LARSON
  • Mark Larson
  • About 75 people attended a Humboldt Emeritus and Retired Faculty and Staff Association lunch meeting to hear opponents and proponents discuss the Humboldt Cannabis Reform Initiative.
Measure A, known as the Humboldt Cannabis Reform Initiative, is shaping up to be one of the most controversial things on the March ballot and this afternoon a group of about 75 people got a close-up look at some of those arguing most vociferously for and against it.

Held at the Baywood Country Club in Arcata, the Humboldt Emeritus and Retired Faculty and Staff Association luncheon meeting saw presentations by proponents Mark Thurmond and Betsy Watson, herself a Cal Poly Humboldt professor emerita, both of whom played central parts in conceiving, drafting, funding and circulating the initiative to overhaul Humboldt County’s cannabis regulations. On the other side of the issue, the group also heard from Humboldt County Growers Alliance Executive Director Natalynne DeLapp, who described the initiative as “bad policy,” and Humboldt County Planning Commissioner Noah Levy, who said he worries the initiative, if passed, would prevent some farms from making environmental improvements.

The discussion was contentious but mostly civil, despite an outburst from a man in the crowd that briefly derailed Thurmond’s presentation before the man was escorted out of the room.

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Friday, December 2, 2022

New Election Report Shows Same Results

Posted By on Fri, Dec 2, 2022 at 4:07 PM

The Humboldt County Elections Office released its fourth post-election report today, which changes some numbers but leaves the results where we left off last week.

That includes Measure M's come from behind win to have the Earth flag fly at the top of city-owned flag poles in Arcata, which now stands at 52 percent of the vote.

This latest round brings local voter turnout to 57 percent of those registered. To check out the results click here.
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Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Latest Election Results: Cervantes Takes the Win, Earth Flag Appears Ready to Fly High

Posted By on Wed, Nov 23, 2022 at 11:50 AM

With around 1,000 or so ballots left to count, the Humboldt County Elections Office released its third post-election report today that pretty much cements races across the county.

With no real changes  overall,  the two big flips — the Ward 3 seat on the Eureka City Council and the Earth flag measure in Arcata — continued the course of last week's results.

Meanwhile Juan Pablo Cervantes, ahead by 4,800 votes, maintained his lead over Tiffany Hunt Nielsen and is now slated to become Humboldt County's next clerk/recorder/registrar of voters with a solid 56.1 percent of the vote.

Over in the Third Ward, G. Mario Fernandez kept his momentum after pulling ahead of John Fullerton last week, taking 53 percent of the vote. The two are separated by 118 votes.

In Arcata, Meredith Matthews and Kimberley White, who have overwhelmingly dominated the race for two open seats in a field of six candidates, will take their place at the dais Dec. 15 to form the city's first ever all-woman city council after taking 35 percent and 34 percent of the vote, respectively.

Also in Arcata, voters look to have given the nod to placing the Earth flag atop city owned flagpoles, with Measure M keeping its slight 51 percent lead.

This latest round brings voter turnout to 55 percent of those registered. To find all of the results click here.
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Friday, November 18, 2022

Election Results Update: Fernandez Pulls Ahead in Eureka, Earth Flag Measure Gains Ground

Posted By on Fri, Nov 18, 2022 at 12:07 PM

With another 9,614 ballots counted, some leads widened while others shrank slightly, but overall the votes fell along the same lines as election night.

The notable exceptions was the Ward 3 race for the Eureka City Council and a Earth flag measure in Arcata.

Meanwhile, Juan Pablo Cervantes strengthened his lead over Tiffany Hunt Nielsen to become Humboldt County's next clerk/recorder/registrar of voters with a solid 56.1 percent of the vote.

In Eureka, the race for city council flipped for the Ward 3 seat with G. Mario Fernandez at 52 percent of the votes leading John Fullerton's 48 percent. The two are separated by 78 votes.

Over in Arcata,  Measure M, which would place the Earth flag in the top spot on city-owned flagpoles, gained some ground, with the no vote now ahead by just 54 votes. 

The freshly counted ballots bump up turnout to 43.7 percent of registered voters. Another 10,000 or so still need to be counted.

See the latest election results here.
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Thursday, November 10, 2022

Humboldt County Updates Election Results, Adding 10K Ballots to

Posted By on Thu, Nov 10, 2022 at 1:21 PM

The Humboldt County Elections Office released its first post-election report this afternoon, adding more than 10,000 ballots to the ongoing tally.

No races shifted with the additional tally, though some leads grew and others shrank. Most notably, Juan Pablo Cervantes, who ended Election Night with a slim lead over Tiffany Hunt Nielsen in the race to become Humboldt County's next clerk/recorder/registrar of voters, now leads commandingly with 54 percent of the vote.

On the measure side of things, Measure Q, a school bond in Ferndale, has gained ground and is now above 50 percent approval, though still short of the 55-percent needed to pass.

The freshly counted ballots now push turnout to 32 percent of registered voters.

Countywide, about 20,000 ballots remain uncounted, with 19,002 vote-by-mail ballots still need to be processed and another 1,173 provision ballots that still need to be vetted, some of which may be deemed invalid. The Elections Office plans to post updated results weekly, beginning Nov. 18.

See the latest election results here.
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Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Bongio Ousted in Community Services District Race

Posted By on Tue, Nov 8, 2022 at 9:28 PM

Long-time Humboldt Community Services District Director Alan Bongio has lost his bid to keep the board seat he's held for 24 years.

In the final Election Night tally, Bongio finished with 27.55 percent of the 4,174 ballots counted thus far, trailing fellow incumbent Gregg Gardiner and challenger Julie M. Ryan, who finished with 39.55 percent and 32.89 percent, respectively, taking the two open seats in the race.

While thousands of votes remain to be counted countywide, barring a statistical anomaly, Bongio will not be able to make up the 223 votes he currently needs to catch Ryan and retain his seat.

Long-time Humboldt Community Services District director Alan Bongio looks to be in danger of losing his board seat amid an ongoing controversy in his role as a Humboldt County planning commissioner.

In the first election night report — comprised entirely of early votes and vote-by-mail ballots that arrived at the Election's Office prior to today — incumbent Gregg Gardiner and challenger Julie Ryan lead the race for two seats on the HCSD board, with 40.44 percent and 34.22 percent of the vote, respectively. Bongio trails with 25.34 percent of the 1,961 votes counted thus far.

Bongio — who has served on the district's board for 24 years after taking over for his father, Aldo Bongio, who held the post for 34 years — drew widespread criticism in his role as chair of the Humboldt County Planning Commission in August, when his handling of a local developer's permit application left fellow commissioners apologizing for his conduct, calling it "biased" and "racist," and officials from two local tribes deeply offended by his treatment of them. Bongio's conduct drew a rare unanimous censure from the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors, his stepping down as the commission's chair and two unsuccessful votes to remove him as the HCSD board president.

Check back first thing tomorrow morning for full election night results.
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