With 100 percent of precincts reporting, John Peschong has won a seat on the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors, creating a more conservative majority.
Incumbent Adam Hill has retained his seat, defeating San Luis Obispo Councilman Dan Carpenter, according to unofficial election results. “Obviously I feel encouraged and always grateful,” Hill said earlier in the evening.
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The results for the District 3 race show Hill leading 57.4 percent to Carpenter’s 42.3 percent. In the District 1 race, Peschong retained his early lead over Paso Robles Mayor Steve Martin, with 55.5 percent of the vote to Martin’s 44.4 percent.
“As a first-time candidate against someone whose been elected for 12 years I think we’re doing very well,” Peschong said just before 9 p.m. “I believe we have won this election, and I’m looking forward to serving the people of the 1st District and being their representative on the Board of Supervisors.”
Martin wrote a letter Wednesday morning congratulating Peschong and thanking him for a “civil” campaign. Now the real work begins, Martin wrote.
“As we move forward I pledge to work with Mr. Peshong where our goals coincide,” Martin wrote. “Most notably, we both expressed a desire for greater law enforcement presence in the First District. I know he will move quickly to get this issue before the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors and I look forward to working to support that effort.”
The outcome of both contests is likely to shift the board’s balance of power and determine the fate of numerous significant issues: ongoing discussions on how to address the county’s high cost of housing; a permanent ordinance regulating marijuana; a permanent oak protection ordinance; and the Phillips 66 oil-by-rail proposal.
Hill and Supervisor Bruce Gibson have often joined forces on the left, while Supervisors Lynn Compton and Debbie Arnold have teamed up on the right. Outgoing Supervisor Frank Mecham has often served as a swing vote in the middle.
Carpenter views himself as a centrist. Martin, too, has positioned himself as a moderate.
While the 1st District race has been congenial, the District 3 contest has been bitter and marked by mudslinging, with Hill and Carpenter doing little to hide their disregard for each other.
Carpenter has said he entered the race “to return respectful leadership back to the 3rd District.” Hill’s campaign has primarily focused on his track record as supervisor, though he hasn’t hesitated to criticize Carpenter’s behavior on the San Luis Obispo City Council.
The two supervisor races also have been costly. The four candidates have collectively raised more than $720,000 in cash in 2015 through Oct. 22, 2016, campaign finance statements show.
Peschong raised the most money overall — $262,304 — with nearly 40 percent of the cash contributions sent in from outside San Luis Obispo County. Martin raised $59,018 from 182 contributors., with 15.8 percent coming from outside the county.
Hill outraised Carpenter during that same time period — bringing in $247,001 in cash compared to Carpenter’s $154,064 — with 24 percent of his contributions from outside the area, compared to 4 percent for Carpenter.