By ERIC BURKETT
He had hoped for enough votes to avoid a runoff in November, but Tuolumne County District 3 supervisor candidate Jim Peterson still was the top vote-getter in Tuesdays primary.
With 1,268 votes, or just over 48 percent of the ballots cast, Peterson will face off with Jerry Morrow, who captured 730 votes, or 28 percent. Candidate Jason Reed came in third, with 614 ballots, or less than 24 percent of the vote.
I think that the people connected with my issues, Peterson said Tuesday night from the Sportsman Coffee Shop in Twain Harte where he and supporters waited for results.
A Tuolumne area resident, Peterson drew much of his support from Voters Choice on Mountain Springs. This grass roots group successfully petitioned to place the controversial development on Tuesdays ballot. Developers avoided that vote by pulling the project for redesign.
The Voters Choice support has cast the Twain Harte attorney at least in the eyes of his challengers as an opponent of any county growth, an assertion he denied throughout the race.
Peterson has also argued the county is in severe financial straits. Fiscal problems at Tuolumne General Hospital and lawsuits stemming from roads and the Jamestown Mine acreage the county acquired a few years ago have taken tax dollars away from other necessary projects, Peterson has said. Those stands will pit Peterson squarely against Morrow in January.
People dont realize what Peterson supports, Morrow said from his Mi-Wuk Village home late Tuesday night. Petersons supporters are no-growthers, he said. Voters Choice is going to be exposed in November.
Morrow, in his position as a Tuolumne County planning commissioner, supported the Mountain Springs project.
Morrow also disputes the notion that Tuolumne County is in financial trouble.
And I never took issue with that, he said.
This is Morrows second try for the District 3 seat. He ran against incumbent Ken Marks for the supervisor seat in 1994, receiving 47 percent of the votes and losing by 187 votes.