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Election Rundown 

A reformer's landslide, a nail-biter in the Fifth and what you missed on election night

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Photo by Mark McKenna

Tens of thousands of Humboldt County voters hit the polls Tuesday and when the dust settled in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, the county had ushered reform into the auditor-controller's office, handed an incumbent supervisor a third term, picked a judge in a landslide and, well, was still on the fence in a Fifth District supervisorial race that's too close to call. Here's the rundown.

Nail-biter in the Fifth

After trailing through election night and into the first hour of June 6, Fifth District challenger Steve Madrone lurched into a narrow, 33-vote lead over two-term incumbent Ryan Sundberg with the final election night report.

Sundberg took a modest lead in the early reports — taking 52.31 percent of the vote — and built on it by taking 54.95 percent of the first returns from Fifth District precincts shortly before midnight on Election Day, leaving him holding a 185-vote edge with 40 percent of precincts reporting. But the final election night report 45 minutes later saw Madrone close the gap to finish with a narrow lead, having taken 50.25 percent of the vote to Sundberg's 49.56 percent.

At the close of election night, Elections Manager Kelly Sanders said she did not have an estimate of how many ballots remain uncounted countywide, much less in the Fifth District specifically.

In the final election night tally, 4,796 ballots had been counted in the race. The last Fifth District supervisorial contest, back in 2014, saw a total of 5,720 votes cast when the vote was certified, indicating there could be around 1,000 ballots still uncounted in the race. In any event, the final outcome of this race won't be known for weeks and may end up being hotly contested.

Neither candidate could be reached for comment on election night.

Bass Avoids Runoff, Cruises in Fourth

Supervisor Virginia Bass appears headed for a third term in office with a substantial lead over her challengers Dani Burkhart and Mary Ann Lyons, who were locked in a neck-and-neck contest for the second slot in the Fourth District race.

In the final election night report, Burkhart had a one-vote edge over Lyons, with the challengers having taken 21.21 and 21.18 percent, respectively. Bass, meanwhile, received 57.27 of the tallied ballot results. In all, 3,272 votes have been counted in the race so far.

Bass, an election veteran who previously served on the Eureka City Council and as the city's mayor, said she was still waiting to see more votes counted.

"I'm feeling cautiously optimistic," she said toward the end of Tuesday evening, unwilling to call the race.

A Reform Candidate's Decisive Win

In what initially looked to be a tight race for the job of county auditor-controller, Karen Paz Dominguez steadily grew her lead and dominated at the polls Tuesday to end up with 54.34 percent of the vote to best fellow candidate Mike Lorig's 42.58 percent in the final election night report.

Seen as a reform candidate and embraced by local progressive groups, Paz Dominguez leaned on a 17-point advantage in the Election Day vote to finish the night with a 1,535-vote lead, with 16,939 ballots counted in the race.

The normally staid race to be the county's top accountant took a series of unusual turns starting back in November when Paz Dominguez, the assistant auditor-controller, arrived at a Humboldt County Board of Supervisors meeting to voice her concerns about understaffing and security breaches in the office. Paz Dominguez's boss, Joseph Mellett, resigned his post a handful of months later and the office is currently headed by interim Auditor-Controller Cheryl Dillingham.

New Judge in Town

Humboldt County's first contested judicial election in decades ended in a landslide, with Lawrence Killoran taking 65.97 percent of the vote to Lathe Gill's 33.64 percent.

"It's very flattering to have the community come together and show that kind of support," Killoran said by phone after retiring from his election night party at the Samoa Women's Club. "I'm very pleased."

Killoran will take the seat held by Judge Dale Reinholtsen, who will retire at the end of the year after 21 years on the bench. He is a partner in the firm Scott, Robinson and Killoran and has been practicing law for 17 years.

When Killoran takes his seat on the bench, he'll be robed as just the county's 34th superior court judge, joining the exclusive club with a new crop of judges that includes Greg Elvine-Kreis, Kelly Neel, Kaleb Cockrum and Timothy Canning, all of whom Gov. Jerry Brown appointed to fill vacant seats within the past 12 months.

Humboldt County Supervisors

Vote totals as of 12:40 a.m. June 6 with 100% precincts reporting.**

Candidate — Votes — % — Total — % — Total — %

4th District

Virginia Bass —1,025 — 64.63 — 849 — 50.36 — 1,874 — 57.27
Dani Burkhart — 292 — 18.41 — 412 — 24.44 — 694 — 21.21
Mary Ann Lyons — 275 — 17.34 — 418 — 24.79 — 693 — 21.18

5th District

Steve Madrone — 1,170 —51.54 — 1,207 — 47.78 — 2,377 — 49.56
Ryan Sundberg — 1,097 — 48.33 — 1,313 — 51.98 — 2,410 — 50.25

Projected winner in bold. *Incumbent. **Some provisional and hand-delivered ballots uncounted. Source: Humboldt County Elections Office

Auditor-Controller

County totals as of 12:40 a.m. with 100% of precincts reporting.**

Candidate — votes — % — total — % — total — %

Mike Lorig — 4,142 — 49.19 — 3,528 — 41.41 — 7,670 — 45.28
Karen Paz Dominguez — 4,241 — 50.37 — 4,964 — 58.27 — 9,205 — 54.34

Projected winner in bold. **Some provisional and hand-delivered ballots uncounted. Source: Humboldt County Elections office

Humboldt County Superior Court Judge

County totals as of 12:40 a.m. with 100% of precincts reporting.**

Candidate — votes — % — total — % — total — %

Lathe Gill — 2,435 — 28.73 — 3,332 — 38.44 — 5,767 — 33.64
Lawrence Killoran — 6,002 — 70.83 — 5,308 — 61.23 — 11,310 — 65.97

Projected winner in bold. **Some provisional and hand-delivered ballots uncounted. Source: Humboldt County Elections office

U.S. Congress

County totals as of 12:40 a.m. with 100% of precincts reporting; district totals as of 4:41 a.m. with 100% of precincts reporting on June 6. ** Top two candidates advance to November runoff.

U.S. Representative in Congress, District 2

Candidate — Hum votes — Hum % — Dist votes — Dist %

Andy Caffrey (D) — 1,420 — 7.44 — 6,534 — 6.4
Jared Huffman (D) — 11,843 — 62.08 — 71,983 — 70.2
Dale K. Mensing (R) — 5,767 — 30.23 — 24,052 — 23.4

Projected winners in bold. *Incumbent. **Some provisional and hand-delivered ballots uncounted. Sources: Humboldt County Elections office and California Secretary of State

State Legislature

Under California's top-two primary system, both candidates competing in the North Coast Assembly [Matt Heath (R) and Jim Wood (D)] and Senate [Veronica "Roni" Jacobi (D) and Mike McGuire (D)] races will move on to the ballot in November.

100 percent of district precincts reporting as of 4:41 a.m.

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