Updated Vote Count Cements a Few Close Races and Reveals Trend in Judge's Race
Cris Alarcon, Placerville Newswire, June 8, 2012Late Friday afternoon the Elections office updated the count with 6,948 of 7,500 outstanding votes tallied. Earlier, a reported 7,500 outstanding ballots yet to be counted after the election night totals were posted a few races were within the margin allowing for a changed outcome as more votes were counted. The new number leave an estimated 1% of ballots to be processed but this is less then the number needed to change the outcome of any close races.
The closest race was for second place in the District 3 race. This was important because of the failure of any candidate to get a majority of votes, the two top vote getters will continue on to November for a run-off campaign. The election day count represented about 85% of all votes put Richard Barb at 1,989 to Al Hamilton's 1918, a difference of just 71 votes. But with the added votes counted Barb now has 2,318 to Hamilton's 2,063, a difference of 255. With 99% of the vote counted and only about 100 ballots in District 3 to be processed, the uncounted votes do not equal enough to change the outcome. The top two vote getter are Veerkamp and Barb.
In another close race, a change in South Lake Tahoe's Business License tax which started with 924 votes yes, or 55.2% has now become 1,162 yes votes or 55.5%. This new tax passes.
The final race of interest is not about any change in outcome, but an interesting trend that developed between early votes and late votes. The voting period is about a month long and trend between the early votes and late votes are often the results of events that happen during that month before election day. In the Judiciary race for Superior Court Judge a lot happened! Not much changed with Valentine's campaign which remained solidly conservative and positive without any attacks on his record or character. But both the Stracener and Hoffman campaigns were full of attacks and counter-attacks. Stracener's attacks came directly from his own campaign while Hoffman's supporter's continued an aggressive independent attack against Stracener.
The attacks against Stracener have continued all year but radically intensified as sitting judge Doug Phimister became more vocal in his criticism of Stracener's politically beneficial “imprecision” with the facts of his record and accomplishments. But far more notable was the late allegation of suggested Hoffman improprieties in a letter of attestation of gold ore held by his client Chartraw used to solicit invest monies. As Chartraw was arrested just a couple months ago and extradited to Sacramento for Federal Fraud charges, the representation by Hoffman as Chartraw's lawyer has been under a magnifying glass. Although he has not be charged with any misconduct by any agency, Stracener's campaign went on the attack mailing out several “attack mailers” implying Hoffman misconduct. Due to the lateness of the accusation in the election cycle, and the unwillingness of Hoffman to comment on pending litigation against him by some of the victims of Chartraw's investment fraud scheme, Hoffman did not make a strong rebuttal to Stracener's attack before the election.
On it's face one would expect this to cause Joe Hoffman to lose votes to Stracener but the election trend is not supporting this assumption. One thing about El Dorado County voters that was demonstrated in the last Sheriff campaign is that the electorate is very harsh on the one making the attacks, whether it is the candidate or a third party. Rather then increase Stracener's vote percent, the attacks seem to have decreased his percent of vote. But it does not mean the attacks did not do damage to Hoffman. It was Steve Valentine that increased in percent of votes first when the day of vote count was added to the early absentee votes, then again when the late absentee votes were added on the Friday after the election.
Prior to today's update, Valentine had 20.47%, Hoffman had 36.77%, and Stracener at 42.32%. With the late ballots added it goes to: Valentine 20.74% (up 1.32 %); Hoffman 36.61 (down .43%); Stracener 42.23% (down .21%). These are small changes but they set a trend-line that shows the attacks hurt Hoffman, and Stracener less so, but benefited Valentine.
Another take-away from this race is that Valentine kept Stracener from winning outright and forced him into a run-off with Hoffman. If Valentine was not in the race and his votes were equally divided between the other two candidates, Stracener would have ended election night with a decisive majority. Now the question is where will those votes go with Valentine out? Don't expect Valentine to endorse either candidate anytime soon, if ever. “Because of the unanswered questions and allegations about the two candidates remaining, I have decided not to endorse either candidate without much further investigation” said Steve Valentine.