On Wednesday morning after narrowly missing being elected outright to the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors, Merita Callaway was already thinking about analyzing the vote, planning which neighborhoods to work harder in and hoping somehow the outstanding provisional and mail-in ballots might push her over the top.
There are about 3,000 ballots left to be counted, elections officials said.
Of those already tabulated, about a third – 2,279 – of the registered voters in District 3 voted on Tuesday and Callaway earned the votes of 1,082 of them. She needs 59 votes to avoid a runoff.
Incumbent Oliviera, who is chairman of the board, was supported by 649 voters or 28.48 percent. Oliviera could not be reached for comment on Wednesday, but his website already showed he was looking toward a runoff with a clock counting down the days, hours, minutes and seconds until the polls open Nov. 6 for the general election.
Ed Langan received 547 votes or 24 percent.
Callaway, a former manager for PG&E, was first elected to the Board of Supervisors in 1993 and served until 2014 when voters chose Oliviera in an election environment she calls “throw the bums out.”
She said she has routinely been called by District 3 constituents seeking help on various issues, from junked cars to boundary lines.
“I think there's a vacuum. I should not be getting phone calls or people stopping me three and a half years later,” she said.
Initially she worked to find someone else – someone younger – to run against Oliviera but it was not yet the time for those she approached and decided to have another run.
“I like the job,” she said. “Eighty percent of it was working with individuals” to help them solve problems.
Oliveira, a retired police officer and corporate safety officer, ran on increasing public safety and promoting commerce, especially in the Highway 4 corridor.
He was the only supervisor to vote against the ordinance that opened the county to widespread cannabis cultivation because he did not believe it had the necessary enforcement powers.
But once the ordinance passed, he believed voters should have a say on the issue.
“I tried 4 times to put it on the ballot and was unsuccessful with even getting a second,” he said. “This should be decided by the people.”
In an interview last week, he said he wanted another term because he wasn’t done.
“I need four more years to get done fixing things. At least. I’m the only one that's seen the true realism with a vision to see how we are going to survive the next four years and at least make it prosperous.”
Callaway sees cannabis as a major issue as well and believes it’s been mismanaged.
She said she believes it should be regulated because it is legal in the state.
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.
In Calaveras County District 5, another incumbent, Clyde Clapp, faces a runoff with Benjamin Stopper. Clapp had 496 votes (31.90 percent) to Stopper’s 483 or (31.06 percent). Bruce Giudici had 426 (27.40 percent) and Gregory Gustafson had 149 (9.58 percent).
Asked how he was feeling Wednesday morning, Stopper said, “tired. I was up late last night and got up early this morning.”
He said he went out first thing to put up signs next to his campaign signs to thank voters for their support.
He said he intends to face the runoff with a larger campaign committee that can help with canvassing and fundraising. He raised about $14,000 for the primary.
“It’s hard working fulltime and running a campaign,” said Stopper, a waste-water treatment plant operator.
Clapp could not be reached for comment.
Stopper, said in an interview last week he wanted to run because he believes Clapp has not represented the working class.
Clapp was elected in the general election in 2018 after 60 percent of voters recalled Steve Kearney. Clapp backed the recall and won the seat that same day with 33 percent of the vote.
District 5 includes Milton, Jenny Lind and Rancho Calaveras.
Giuseppe Ricapito contributed to this report.
Contact Lyn Riddle at email@example.com or 209-588-4541.