Union Democrat staff

10:23 p.m. Calaveras County

Sheriff's race tightens up

Calaveras County Sheriff candidates Patrick Garrahan and Gary Lee Stevens have narrowed Calaveras County Sheriff Rick DiBasilio’s lead by more than a percentage point, putting DiBasilio’s vote tally just under the threshold to declare an outright victory.

With 8 of 29 total precincts reporting, DiBasilio’s vote tally is at 3,256 votes, or 49.63 percent of the total. Garrahan has 1,344 votes, or 20.49 percent of the total; and Stevens has 1,953 votes, or 29.77 percent of the total.
Seven write-in votes have been submitted, accounting for .11 percent of the total.

6,560 votes have been submitted for the office of Calaveras County Sheriff, with 6,938 total ballots submitted.
If the current margins hold and DiBasilio does not pass the threshold of 50 percent and one vote, a run-off election will be forced in November with the candidate that receives the next-highest vote tally.
The updated election returns were received at 10:05 p.m.

Prior to the update, DiBasilio said he was “confident” that he would receive more than 50 percent of the vote to win the election outright.
There are 28,994 registered voters in the county.

10:17 p.m. Calaveras County

District 5 headed for runoff

In early voting in Calaveras County's District 5 supervisor's race, it appeared a runoff would take place in November but it's uncertain who will be in it.

Incumbent Clyde Clapp was leading with 354 votes or 34 percent, followed by Benjamin Stopper with 303, 29 percent and Bruce Giudici with 294, 28 percent.

One candidate needs 50 percent plus one vote to avoid a runoff.

District 5 includes Milton, Jenny Lind and Rancho Calaveras.

10:04 p.m. Calaveras County

DiBasilio “confident” he will avoid runoff; more vote tallies expected soon

Calaveras County elections coordinator Amy Yepez said the first of the county’s 29 precincts have checked into the elections office to process vote ballots.

The votes from the precincts have not been processed yet and tallies may be posted within thirty minutes to an hour, she said.
About four precincts have reported to the office, including two from the San Andreas area, and two from the Jenny Lind area.

The first returns, comprised of about 5,943 vote by mail ballots, were tallied by about 8:15 p.m. No updates were made to the totals since then.

The early returns show Calaveras County Sheriff Rick DiBasilio leading the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office election with 2,856 votes, more than 50 percent of the total; compared to challengers Gary Lee Stevens, with 1,665 votes, or 29.55 percent of the total; and Patrick Garrahan, with 1,108 votes, or 19.66 percent of the total.

DiBasilio said be felt “confident” that he would maintain his lead of more than 50 percent of the vote, and avoid a runoff election with either of the two candidates in November.
“I feel good and I hope they continue in that direction,” he said.

DiBasilio is hosting an election party at the La Contenta Golf Club in Valley Springs, said about 40 people were at the site, eagerly anticipating additional results.

DiBasilio said he expected about 18,000 to 20,000 votes to be submitted during the primary election, an increase from past midterm primary elections that have seen about 11,000 to 15,000 votes.
There are 28,994 registered voters in the county.

“Everybody is ecstatic right now,” DiBasilio said. “The same as I, they hope that it continues to stay at this rate but we all know it’s early and things can change, but we are hoping not.”

Garrahan and Stevens could not be reached for comment.

9:43 p.m. Calaveras County

Callaway nears win in District 3

Meritta Callaway began her night Tuesday with some of her campaign volunteers and it morphed into a full-blown party when early results showed her not only topping incumbent Michael Oliviera but also edging close to the magic number of 50 percent of the vote to avoid a runoff.

“I'm hoping to get this done tonight,” she said. “We've worked hard and had a dedicated group of people.”

With a portion of mail-in ballots counted, Callaway had almost 48 percent of the vote – 699 votes – to Oliveira's 28 percent – 436.

Oliveira rousted the seat from Callaway during the last election.

“It was a different time, when people wanted to throw the bums out,” she said.

But in the intervening years she continued to volunteer and accept phone calls from District 3 constituents seeking helping on various issues.

“I like the job,” she said. “Eighty percent of it was working with individuals” to help them solve problems.

The district includes Douglas Flat, Murphys, Brice Station, Forest Meadows, Hathaway Pines, Avery, Arnold, White Pines, Dorrington, Camp Connell, Cottage Springs, Skyhigh, Tamarack, Sherman Acres and part of Vallecito.

9:23 p.m. Tuolumne County

Runoff between Hanvelt and Campbell possible in District 2

Incumbent Supervisor Randy Hanvelt took an early lead in the race for the District 2 seat on the Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors, but had yet to secure the percentage needed to avoid a runoff with challenger Ryan Campbell in the November general election.

Hanvelt sat in first place with 717 votes, or 46.74 percent, followed by Campbell with 516 votes, or 33.64. Dave Titchenal was in third place with 326 votes, or 22.93 percent.

One candidate needs to get at least one vote more than 50 percent to win the seat outright, otherwise the top-two vote getters will advance to a runoff in the Nov. 6 general election.

Campbell said it was too early to tell whether he’ll force the two-term incumbent into a one-on-one race in November, but he was pleased with his campaign’s performance despite being outspent 5-to-1 by Hanvelt.

“I think the fact that our plucky little campaign has performed as well as it has shows this county is looking for change,” he said. “If it goes to a runoff, then the voters will have another chance to decide the kind of person they want to represent them in the second district.”

Hanvelt raised and spent more than $32,000 from the beginning of 2017 through late May in hopes of locking up a third consecutive four-year term in office.

Campbell raised nearly $6,500 and spent $5,200 through late May since launching his campaign late last year, while Titchenal raised about $1,400 and spent $1,500 over the same period.

The elections’ office first report of the night showed 47 of 73 precincts reporting and 8,057 ballots counted.

9:21 p.m. Calaveras County

DiBasilio leads with more than 50 percent of votes in early returns

Early returns have Calaveras County Sheriff Rick DiBasilio leading the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office election with 2,856 votes, more than 50 percent of the total 5,635 votes counted.

The early returns account for about 19 percent of the total vote in Calaveras County.
Kelsea Stefanick, recorder-clerk with the Calaveras County Elections office, said the 5,635 votes that had been tallied are only vote by mail ballots.
Poll workers have not returned any completed ballots to the Calaveras County Elections office, she said at about 8:30 p.m.

Stefanick said the 5,635 vote by mail ballots were not necessarily all the vote by mail ballots submitted to the office.
The first results were tallied by about 8:15 p.m.

Calaveras County has a population of about 44,000. There are 28,994 registered voters in the county, Stefanick said.
Gary Lee Stevens, a crime scene investigator with the Amador County District Attorney’s Office and a former Calaveras County Sheriff’s deputy, trails DiBasilio with 1,665 votes, or 29.55 percent of the total.

Patrick Garrahan, police science instructor at Calaveras High School and Oakland police officer, has 1,108 votes, or 19.66 percent of the total.
Six votes, or .11 percent of the total, are write-in candidates.

Much of the debate of the Calaveras County Sheriff’s race has hinged on the contentious issue of commercial cannabis cultivation in the county.
Following a 3-2 Board of Supervisors vote in January, a ban on the commercial cultivation of cannabis took effect on March 9, with a 90-day grace period for permitted growers to come into compliance. That grace period ends on Thursday, June 7, and only cultivation for registered personal use will be allowed after that date.

None of the candidates could immediately be reached for comment.
During previous interviews with The Union Democrat, the candidates have pledged to uphold the law as decided by the voters and the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors.

A central campaign tenet for Stevens has been his complete opposition to commercial cannabis activities in the county. Garrahan has voiced support for strict regulation of commercial growing as opposed to an outright ban.

DiBasilio, appointed to the position by a 4-1 Board of Supervisors vote in May 2016 following the unexpected death of former Sheriff Gary Kuntz, has said he enforced the laws set by the Board of Supervisors during his tenure.
Prior to the outright ban, Calaveras County allowed for commercial cultivation of cannabis by approved, permitted growers under the February 2016 “urgency ordinance.”

9:20 p.m. Calaveras County

Early results show Calaveras voters favor Mark Twain Health Care District measure

Voters in Calaveras County are favor of their local hospital and its clinics entering a new 30-year lease with Dignity Health, the fifth-largest health system in the nation and the largest hospital provider in California, according to early election results Tuesday night.

Based on unconfirmed results from 5,943 vote-by-mail ballots, 88.19 percent of voters marked “Yes” on their ballots and 11.81 percent said “No.”

Mark Twain Medical Center is the only hospital in Calaveras County, and with its clinics, is the third-largest employer in the county, according to Randy Smart, the district’s executive director. The hospital and its clinics have more than 300 employees, including 35 doctors, and an annual payroll exceeding $30 million.

The lengthy ballot measure question put to voters in Tuesday’s primary election was:

“Shall the Mark Twain Health Care District sign a new lease with the nonprofit Mark Twain Medical Center Corporation and take other actions assuring 10-30 years of hospital operation with substantial investments by Dignity Health in the Mark Twain Medical Center and community services, continuing hospital care, emergency care and other services at the Medical Center, and supporting medical services provided by the District, per terms approved by Resolution 2018-01 adopted January 24, 2018?”

The Mark Twain Health Care District board in late January approved a 30-year lease with Dignity Health. The health care district is a public agency and its boundaries include all of Calaveras County.

8:46 p.m. Tuolumne County

Kirk, Sylwester lead field of four for District 3 seat

Anaiah Kirk and Laurie Sylwester were separated by only two votes and leading the pack of four vying for the District 3 seat on the Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors as of the first round of election results Tuesday night.

Kirk was in first place with 490 votes, or 34.46 percent, while Sylwester was in close second with 488 votes, or 34.32 percent.

Merv Cancio was trailing Sylwester by 162 votes with 326, or 22.93 percent. Aaron Rasmussen, who ran a campaign in which he didn’t spend a dime on advertising outside of Facebook, was sitting in fourth place with 118 votes, or 8.30 percent.

“I kind of figured Merv was going to be kind of splitting maybe part of the vote,” Kirk said. “Obviously, that’s what’s happening.”

The top-two vote getters will face each other in a runoff in the Nov. 6 general election if none of them receives more than 50 percent of the votes cast, which is unlikely given the number of candidates in the field.

“It’s too early to make a judgment because it’s only about 20 percent in,” said Cancio. “I’ll wait until closer to 40 and 50 to see what the pattern is. The next two (rounds of results) will dictate whether it’s stable or there’s some movement.”

About 64 percent of precincts were reporting as of the first results released just after the polls closed at 8 p.m., with a total 8,057 ballots counted at this point.

All four are vying for a seat held by incumbent District 3 Supervisor Evan Royce for the past eight years. The 35-year-old announced in February that he would not seek a third term to focus on growing his private construction business and spending more time with family.

8:0 p.m. Tuolumne County

Such, Garaventa lead in Sonora City Council race

Early elections results Tuesday night showed challenger Colette Such and incumbent Jim Garaventa had substantial leads Tuesday night in the race for Sonora City Council.

“Wow,” Such said in a phone interview. “I couldn’t be more pleased. I couldn’t be more grateful to the people who have supported me. It was humbling. People just showed up and gave me money for my campaign. It made all the difference.”

Such led with 38.89 percent of votes counted in the first returns distributed by the Tuolumne County elections office. Incumbent Garaventa was running a strong second with 34.34 percent of votes counted. The early results were based on 64.38 percent of precincts reporting countywide.

There are 2,496 registered voters in Sonora. Turnout for Tuesday’s primary election was estimated at 26.05 percent countywide.

Such said her first order of business if she is elected and sworn in as a Sonora City Council member will be to figure out the finances of the city. Without money the city can’t do the things that need to be done.

“We need to do something about homelessness,” Such said. “We need to do something about the effect of homelessness on our merchants. We need to attract our young residents back to Sonora. They’re leaving. We need to be able to provide living wage jobs and career ladders, so they can stay or come back and raise their families. We need to capture young professionals from elsewhere to live here and raise their families. We have a lot of seniors with a lot of knowledge who bring so many gifts to our community, but we need to add youth to our population and we need to bring that back.”