By GLENDA ANDERSON
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Dan Hamburg, a former county supervisor and congressman, emerged from a bitter and contentious race as the apparent winner of the 5th District seat on the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors.
An estimated 8,000 to 10,000 mail ballots remain to be counted across the county but aren’t expected to change the unofficial results from the election Tuesday.
“I think those votes are going to widen my lead,” Hamburg said Wednesday, noting that was the case in the primary election.
As of Wednesday morning, Hamburg had 55 percent of the vote and a 490-vote lead over Wendy Roberts, who had just over 44 percent of the vote.
Roberts’ campaign had issued a mailer late in the campaign that questioned Hamburg’s ability to function as a supervisor because he smokes medical marijuana; accused him of failing to pay taxes on the marijuana he grows; noted that he built a cabin on his property without first obtaining permits; and brought up many other issues dating to his congressional campaigns and college years.
But the attack piece did not seem to alter the outcome in the ultra-liberal 5th District, which stretches from the coast to the edge of Ukiah. “They don’t care,” said Ross Liberty, a Ukiah businessman who helped with Roberts’ campaign and was a major financial contributor.
Hamburg had focused on the fact that Roberts’ campaign was largely supported by pro-development interests.
“I think Wendy was seen as pro-development” and that’s not good in a district known for throwing hurdles at development, Liberty said.
Liberty said he’s having second thoughts about how the campaign was run, including the attack ad and the hiring of the Delphi political consulting group, which has been associated with right-wing politics in Mendocino County.
“I think my politics resonate with the district’s more than Wendy’s,” said Hamburg, who has a long history as an environmental and political activist.
In the race for 3rd District supervisor, incumbent John Pinches beat challenger Holly Madrigal, a Willits city councilwoman, despite spending almost nothing and pursuing what some refer to as a non-campaign.
As of Wednesday morning, he held a 355-vote lead, with 54 percent of the vote.
In what had been a contentious race for Mendocino County district attorney, challenger David Eyster unseated incumbent Meredith Lintott. He held a 643-vote lead with just over 51 percent of the vote as of Wednesday morning.