Two Riverside County supervisors were poised to comfortably fend off challengers in Tuesday’s election, with initial returns signaling voters’ strong preference for the incumbents.
Supervisor Kevin Jeffries, who has represented the First District since 2013, is defending his seat against a sheriff’s deputy and a community activist.
In the county’s Third District, Supervisor Chuck Washington is faced with four challengers.
With 17% of votes tabulated, Jeffries was out front with nearly 19,000 votes. His nearest contender, Debbie Walsh, was at just over 8,000.
Meantime, Washington had claimed 27,000 votes cast, with his nearest opponent, Courtney Sheehan, at 5,957.
In the First District race, Walsh of Mead Valley, who also ran against Jeffries in 2016, emphasized managed growth, as well as strengthening code enforcement in unincorporated communities and enhancing fire protection in her campaign.
Deputy Melissa Bourbonnais staked positions on traffic congestion relief, solutions to homelessness and public safety in her campaign.
Jeffries stood on his record as a cost-cutter, government transparency advocate and opponent of the explosive growth of mega warehouses in his platform.
The incumbent is the only supervisor who has consistently declined salary increases out of a publicly avowed deference to county taxpayers, and he has made pension reform to net budgetary savings a chief priority going forward.
Washington was originally appointed to the Board of Supervisors seat by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2015, after then-Supervisor Jeff Stone was elected to the state Senate. However, Washington won election in his own right a year later.
In his platform, the incumbent highlights his efforts to expand the ranks of sheriff’s deputies to combat gangs, reduce governmental interference in the approval of some developments to promote jobs growth and the expansion of travel corridors in the southwest county region to reduce congestion.
Along with Sheehan, Joe Scarafone, Mike Juarez and Edison Gomez-Krauss sought to unseat him.
Sheehan is a former U.S. Marine now pursuing a graduate degree. According to her campaign website, she’s an advocate for enriching the quality of area schools, expanding services to seniors and ensuring mental health care is available to those who need it.
Scarafone is a small business owner and former Border Patrol agent who has been involved in political races over the last decade. He has made reducing homelessness, slashing bureaucracy and standing against the “far left” in California themes in his campaign.
Juarez is a former law enforcement officer who touts his skills as a labor negotiator and analyst as positives in his campaign. One of his major concerns: promoting economic development in rural areas.
Gomez-Krauss is an educator who believes there is too much corporate money influencing campaigns. He believes in managed growth, expanding public transportation and lowering the hurdles associated with the county’s marijuana cultivation licensing program.
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