One SLO County supervisor race settled, two go to November election

Dan Carpenter claps as election return numbers are read Tuesday night.
Dan Carpenter claps as election return numbers are read Tuesday night. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

After Tuesday’s primary election, the stage is set to fill three seats on the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors.

One race is already settled, and the other two will go on to runoffs in the Nov. 8 general election. The final results will determine the character of the board for the next two years at least.

In a close race, District 5 Supervisor Debbie Arnold defeated Pozo organic farmer Eric Michielssen by a 53-to-47-percent margin to gain a second term. Arnold received 760 more votes than Michielssen.

Arnold, who is serving her first four-year term on the board, is one of its most conservative members. The largely rural district stretches from Atascadero east to the Carrizo Plain and as far south as the northern parts of San Luis Obispo.

Arnold said she was gratified by the election results and considers the outcome to be a vote of confidence by her constituents.

California held its presidential primary on Tuesday, June 7, with a range of offices up for grabs. Here's who SLO County voters chose, and who will have to move on to the November general election.

In the District 1 race, Republican political consultant John Peschong of Templeton will face Paso Robles Mayor Steve Martin. Peschong garnered 45.6 percent of the vote, while Martin received 35.2 percent.

In races with more than two candidates, one candidate must receive more than 50 percent of the vote to avoid a general election runoff.

Paso Robles City Councilman John Hamon and retired attorney Dale Gustin of Paso Robles were eliminated in Tuesday’s election. The election drew four candidates — the most of any supervisory race — partly because the incumbent was not on the ballot. Supervisor Frank Mecham, who holds the seat, is retiring.

The large North County district includes Paso Robles, San Miguel and much of Templeton.

Peschong and Martin both said they are looking forward to the general election campaign. Because it will be a presidential election, candidates will have to work harder to get their messages out, Martin said.

“It has been a very enjoyable and energizing campaign,” he said. “It is going to be a very political year.”

The seat represents a crucial swing vote on the politically divided Board of Supervisors. On many controversial issues, Mecham is often the deciding vote between liberal supervisors Adam Hill and Bruce Gibson and conservative supervisors Arnold and Lynn Compton.

In the South County’s District 3, incumbent Supervisor Adam Hill will face San Luis Obispo City Councilman Dan Carpenter. Former Grover Beach Mayor Debbie Peterson was eliminated.

Hill garnered 42.3 percent of the vote, while Carpenter received 31.2 percent. Peterson trailed Carpenter with 26.3 percent of the vote.

Hill facing Carpenter will likely mean an additional five months of acrimony. The two frequently clashed during the heated primary election.

Hill has been accused of bullying people from the dais during Board of Supervisors meetings. Carpenter said Hill’s behavior was one of the main reasons he decided to run for the seat, and he has based much of his campaign on his dislike of Hill. Hill’s campaign has primarily focused on his track record as supervisor, though he doesn’t hesitate to criticize Carpenter’s behavior on the San Luis Obispo City Council.

District 3 includes part of San Luis Obispo, as well as Grover Beach and Pismo Beach, and the communities of Avila Beach and Edna Valley.

Board of Supervisors unofficial final results


John Peschong


Steve Martin


John Hamon


Dale Gustin



Adam Hill


Dan Carpenter


Debbie Peterson



Debbie Arnold


Eric Michielssen


100 percent precincts reporting

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