It appears voters in two Tuolumne County Supervisor districts will have a choice to make in November.
Incumbent Liz Bass will face Sherri Brennan in a November runoff for Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors District 1, and Domenic Torchia will face Karl Rodefer for District 5, according to unofficial results released by the county Elections Office on Thursday.
Elections staff finished tallying 381 provisional ballots on Thursday after more than a week of work verifying the final ballots after the June 5 primary.
The final count has Rodefer just three votes shy of the outright majority that would be required to avoid a runoff Nov. 6. He received 1,473 votes, or 49.8 percent. Torchia was following with 638, or 21.6 percent.
If the counts hold, Rodefer said, it looks like his campaign will continue into the fall, which he says “is not a defeat” at all.
“I’m extremely thankful for each and every person who voted for me,” he said. “We’re looking forward to running an equally hard and comprehensive campaign in the general election.”
Rodefer said he’s upbeat considering he was so close to capturing a majority, even with four candidates to split the votes. Jim O’Neil received about 13 percent and Jason Frye received 7.7 percent. Mick Macomber, who dropped out shortly before election day, received about 7.6 percent.
“The line has to be drawn in the sand somewhere. It looks like we’re going to come short,” he said of the count. “It may be a few grains of sand short, but that’s the rules.”
Torchia said he’s encouraged by the news of a runoff, as it will give him more opportunities to debate the issues with another candidate.
Torchia was a strong critic of county leaders and the current Board of Supervisors throughout his campaign, attacking numerous projects and decisions.
“This couldn’t be better news,” he said. “Win or lose, I want to make sure every single person who votes in the district knows where I stand and knows what the issues are.”
In District 1, incumbent Supervisor Bass beat former Sonora city councilman Jim Hildreth by 37 votes for second place, according to the unofficial results. Bass, who received 24.5 percent with 726 votes, will run against Brennan, who received 36.7 percent with 1,089 votes.
Bass said she’s confident heading toward November, especially since she was in the same situation four years ago as an incumbent who took second in the primary. She said she’s been receiving calls and messages since election night from supporters indicating they will continue to back her in the general election.
“People who have been kind of rallying around me already, they just made me feel like there’s still a ways to go in this,” Bass said.
Hildreth wished both Bass and Brennan the best in their runoff, saying in an email to The Union Democrat that he accepted the decision made by voters.
“It was a great experience,” he said.
County Elections Office must still certify the final tally. Deborah Russell, county clerk and auditor-controller, said a manual recount in 1 percent of the county’s precincts for all races is part of that process. If the results hold, candidates have five days to request a recount.
With about 70 percent of voters in the county casting ballots by mail, Russell said the numbers don’t often change.
“The only way a number’s going to change is if for some reason we find a ballot,” she said.