Ryan Campbell declared victory over two-term incumbent Tuolumne County Supervisor Randy Hanvelt in the battle for District 2 after his lead grew to 74 votes in updated unofficial election results released late Thursday afternoon.
Campbell now has 2,043 votes, or 50.73 percent, to Hanvelt’s 1,969 votes, or 48.89 percent. The new numbers include 846 additional vote-by-mail ballots in District 2 that were not counted in the unofficial results released on Tuesday night.
Hanvelt could not be reached for comment in time for this story Thursday night.
His campaign manager, Mike Ayala, said “We’re probably going to wait to say anything until all the votes have been counted,”
Campbell called the job of supervisor an “awesome responsibility” and pledged to do his best.
“I think the residents of District 2 will be happy with the results,” he said.
Hanvelt has trailed Campbell since election night, making the race too close to call up to this point. Hanvelt outraised and outspent the political newcomer by a 5-to-1 margin during the campaign.
There were 16 vote-by-mail ballots in District 2 received by the county Elections Office on Thursday that were still left to count, as well as 34 conditional ballots from voters in District 2 who didn’t register to vote prior to the Oct. 22 deadline.
Debi Bautista, county clerk and auditor-controller, said there were also 141 provisional ballots dropped off at polling places in District 2. She added that some of those are likely to be voters who live outside the district and won’t affect the current results.
There were also about 500 ballots left to duplicate that had errors or other things crossed out, but Bautista said she won’t know how many of those come from District 2 until tomorrow.
Campbell said he feels confident that those ballots won’t change the result because he never trailed Hanvelt and has gained votes. At one point, he was ahead by a single vote.
“Randy Hanvelt has served this community very well in the two terms when he was supervisor,” he said. “He ran a really good race, we had different strategies, and just people were ready for a change.”
The 37-year-old works for the county as an administrative analyst in the Office of Emergency Services. He’s said he plans to quit his job if elected to avoid any conflicts of interest and focus his attention on being a supervisor.
The supervisor position pays about $51,000 a year, in addition to health and retirement benefits. This would be Campbell’s first elected office.
Campbell said there was “no question” that he was the underdog in the race, but he believes a mood for change and talking directly with constituents by going door-to-door helped propel him to victory.
“I think that people are ready for a change,” he said. “People want to see the county move in a positive direction and not continue on the path we’ve been on.”
Hanvelt, 75, is a retired former global executive for General Electric. He moved to the county permanently in 2005 and was elected as District 2 supervisor after toppling the incumbent in the primary election.
This was the first time Hanvelt has faced a challenger in a November runoff after being unable to pass the 50-percent threshold needed to win the seat outright in the June 5 primary against Campbell and then-candidate Dave Titchenal.
Campbell came in second place, 308 votes behind Hanvelt, to advance to the runoff. He said that he believed the time he put in going door-to-door and talking with constituents helped close the gap between the primary and Tuesday’s general election.
The election results released Thursday afternoon also showed that Anaiah Kirk will succeed outgoing District 3 Supervisor Evan Royce, as his lead over opponent Laurie Sylwester grew to 301 votes.
Kirk, 34, who works as a supervising correctional counselor at Sierra Conservation Center near Jamestown, declared victory Wednesday after emerging from the initial results on election night with a 209-vote lead.
Sylwester could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Contact Alex MacLean at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 588-4530.