From a total of 24,465 ballots cast, Bruce McPherson was declared the winner of the race to replace Mark Stone as the supervisor for the county’s 5th District with a final vote total of 12,258 — edging out rival Eric Hammer (12,113) by 145 votes.
Write-in candidates received a total of 94 votes, an insufficient number to shift the results in either direction.
“I’m humbled and honored to serve my home county of Santa Cruz as 5th District supervisor,” McPherson said Tuesday, after receiving news of his victory that same day.
He thanked his campaign volunteers for their work in the race, which ran five months longer than hoped when none of the original three candidates on the June primary ballot — McPherson, Hammer and Bill Smallman — was able to secure an outright majority of the votes, forcing a November runoff between the top two vote-getters.
“Bruce ran a great campaign,” Hammer said. “It was a great experience and I feel really good about it.”
Hammer said that despite the close vote totals, he would not seek a recount.
“I trust (Santa Cruz County Clerk) Gail Pellerin completely,” Hammer said. “(The county elections staff) did their due diligence.”
He said that he was happy with his campaign and was “humbled” by the support he had received from the community.
“I am grateful to have as much support as I did in the community,” Hammer said. “I don’t think there’s been many elections to come down to 145 votes.”
The lengthy race meant that more money was spent on campaigning as well. According to county data, McPherson’s campaign reported spending $203,781.35, while Hammer’s camp spent a reported $87,736.36
McPherson, a resident of the Pasatiempo area and former California secretary of state, said it felt good to be declared the outright winner.
“I knew it was going to be a close campaign,” McPherson said. “Anybody who says ‘my vote doesn’t matter’ — don’t believe them.”
While he won’t be sworn in until Jan. 7, McPherson said he was already eager to work with the people of the 5th District.
“I look forward to talking and listening to everyone as we look for solutions,” he said. “The needs of the district are centered in the San Lorenzo Valley, and we’ve got to address some tough economic times.”
McPherson has named Robin Musitelli, a Brookdale resident, as his chief of staff.
As supervisor-elect, McPherson said he hoped to foment a culture of cooperation and consensus among his constituents.
“There’s a lot of decisions to make,” he said.
Final election results
Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors, District 5
Bruce McPherson: 50.10 percent (12,258 votes)
Eric Hammer: 49.51 percent (12,113 votes)
Write-ins: 0.38 percent (94 votes)
Scotts Valley Fire Protection District (three seats)
Jane Armstrong: 28.12 percent (5,214 votes)
Arthur Smith: 24.40 percent (4,525 votes)
Alan L. Smith: 24.03 percent (4,456 votes)
Lisa Ann Bustichi: 23.31 percent (4,323 votes)
Write-ins: 0.15 percent (27 votes)
Lompico County Water District (three seats)
Bill Smallman: 22.50 percent (344 votes)
Richard Harrington: 21.32 percent (326 votes)
Lois Henry: 20.99 percent (321 votes)
Gail A. Jones: 12.69 percent (194 votes)
Duane R. Davis: 12.49 percent (191 votes)
Cheryl Trapp: 9.81 percent (150 votes)
Write-ins: 0.20 percent (three votes)
San Lorenzo Valley Water District (two seats)
Margaret Bruce: 39.97 percent (6,014 votes)
Randall C. Brown: 24.08 percent (3,624 votes)
Stephen Swan: 22.77 percent (3,426 votes)
Craig Austin: 12.79 percent (1,924 votes)
Write-ins: 0.40 percent (60 votes)
Boulder Creek Recreation and Park District (three seats)
Tess E. Fitzgerald: 26.55 percent (2,436 votes)
Kimberly Main: 24.52 percent (2,250 votes)
Brian Valdivia: 24.14 percent (2,215 votes)
Michael Watson: 13.28 percent (1,218 percent)
Richard Chatoff: 11.16 percent (1,024 votes)
Write-ins: 0.35 percent (32 votes)
Measure N: Santa Cruz County Transient Occupancy Tax
Yes: 72.77 percent (80,990 votes)
No: 27.23 percent (30,303 votes)
Santa Cruz County Board of Education, Trustee Area 3
Sandra Nichols: 79.51 percent (11,448 votes)
James Spano: 19.36 percent (2,787 votes)
Write-ins: 1.14 percent (164 votes)