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Carrillo’s big win a sign of political clout, observers say


Supervisor Efren Carrillo’s resounding re-election victory is an unmistakable sign of the political clout he has been able to amass in his first term, observers said Wednesday.

Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo thanks Sebastopol Mayor Guy Wilson for his support as he campaigns in downtown Sebastopol on Tuesday, June 5, 2012. (Christopher Chung / PD)

The 31-year-old son of Mexican immigrants captured 59 percent of the vote in the 5th District Supervisorial race, beating back two well-known opponents who challenged his environmental voting record.

His final vote tally was significantly more than the 50 percent majority he needed to avoid a November runoff.

“Efren emerges much stronger and in a much more influential position than 48 hours ago,” said Dave McCuan, a Sonoma State University political scientist.

On Wednesday, Carrillo said he was eager to address the key challenges facing the county, including balancing the budget, mitigating effects of the new tribal casino in Rohnert Park and dealing with the county’s pension problmes.

“I really think that we must do what we can to save taxpayer dollars to ensure continued quality services,” Carrillo said, adding that he and other board members are “committed to negotiating with bargaining units and finding some balance.”

McCuan pointed out that voters in San Jose and San Diego on Tuesday gave overwhelming support to proposals that cut retirement benefits for government workers.

“The question is now can (Carrillo) step into that leadership role” to avoid similar ballot measures in Sonoma County, McCuan said.

Jack Buckhorn, president of the North Bay Central Labor Council, said he was confident Carrillo would try to avoid such a conflict. The labor council, which opposed Carrillo four years ago, was a strong supporter this year.

Buckhorn said he believed that concessions on pension benefits could come out of collective bargaining.

“That’s the leadership that we expect form him and all the supervisors,” he said. “The leadership to make tough decisions. You don’t always make everybody happy.”

Even those who vigorously opposed Carrillo gave the young politician credit for his ability to secure a broad spectrum of support.

“Supervisor Carrillo did a good job of reaching out to his district over the past four years,” said Dennis Rosatti, executive director of Sonoma County Conservation Action, which endorsed Carrillo’s challengers, former Supervisor Ernie Carpenter of Sebastopol and former Santa Rosa City Councilwoman Veronica Jacobi.

Rosatti said that Carrillo was able to raise significant funds that allowed him to mobilize supporters during a low-turn out primary election.

Though unsuccessful, the challenge west county environmentalists waged against Carrillo succeeded in raising important issues, he said.

Opponents blasted Carrillo’s votes in favor of several controversial land-use projects, including the Dutra Materials asphalt plant outside Petaluma and the Best Family Winery project outside Graton.

But the campaign against him fell significantly short. Carpenter received 27.9 percent of the vote and Jacobi received 13 percent.

Carrillo on Wednesday struck a conciliatory tone.

“I would like to reach out to Ms. Jacobi and Mr. Carpenter,” he said. “They have value in the community.”

You can reach Staff Writer Martin Espinoza at 521-5213 or martin.espinoza@pressdemocrat.com.

11 Responses to “Carrillo’s big win a sign of political clout, observers say”

  1. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    Amused-it’s because Democrats outnumber Republicans in Sonoma County. Doesn’t mean they all show up or sent in their absentee ballots.
    I worked the polls. MOST of the Republicans listed on the register as walk ins showed up. Lots of the Democrats didn’t. As a progressive it was disheartening that we had such a low turnout overall at my poll. We were told our polling place had one of the highest turnout. Voters don’t seem to think the primaries are important.

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  2. Amused says:

    Mockingbird – Check the registrar of voters page before commenting. Democrats voted in slightly larger numbers than republicans. How could this ever really happen since the voter pool in Sonoma County is largly democratic?

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  3. John says:

    That Carrillo won big only points to how shallow the voters are; he hasn’t done much more than show up to every envelope opening out there. He photos well, shows his pearly whites, then picks up whichever attractive female catches his eye. “Working his butt off,” I’m sure.

    Wait until he has to vote for something of real importance to the West County voters, like Preservation Ranch. I bet his star falls before 2016.

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  4. Camino Alto says:

    I am so very disappointed that our West County voters re-elected this clown.

    Carillo had better be thanking our beloved Press Democrat for their successful push to get him re-elected. The propaganda that they printed on him was better than any mailer could ever be and he didn’t have to claim it as a campaign expenditure.

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  5. GAJ says:

    If Carillo runs for statewide office then obviously he’s not in it for the money.

    Our Supervisors have one of the best pay/benefit packages in the whole Country, which, of course, is completely absurd.

    Their package is worth about twice that of a State Senator or State Assembly member.

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  6. Vinyl Rules says:

    Even if there was only one “environmentalist” in the race rather than two, Carrillo likely still would have won. Carpenter’s and Jacobi’s percentages together don’t even come close to Carrillo’s final tally. Expect big things from Supervisor Carrillo in the future. He will run for statewide office at some point. I would bet on it.

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  7. good one says:

    Mr. Carrillo works his butt off everyday. Very happy to see him reelected!

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  8. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    I work the polls. Again the Democrats failed to show up. The Republicans always show up so big money won on this one. Those loyal to the party Republicans vote big money even if it comes back to bite them in the *** eventually.

    THE PRIMARIES DO COUNT. People, get out and vote or you will lose YOUR rights after the rich buy all our elections and make the rules for voting so onerous that the poor, elderly, students and minorities can no longer vote.

    I don’t want to be an indentured servant for some rich corporation.

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  9. GoAwayCarillo says:

    Too bad there wasn’t a bigger voter turnout, could have gone a better way.

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  10. Jimbo96 says:

    “McCuan pointed out that voters in San Jose and San Diego on Tuesday gave overwhelming support to proposals that cut retirement benefits for government workers.

    “The question is now can (Carrillo) step into that leadership role” to avoid similar ballot measures in Sonoma County, McCuan said.”

    Pray tell, what’s wrong with the taxpaying citizens, who are the ones whose money is being used, getting to vote to limit the retirement benefits that they are paying for?

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  11. wangofango says:

    “I would like to reach out to Ms. Jacobi and Mr. Carpenter,” he said. “They have value in the community.”
    the election shows that there are serious issues BESIDES/IN ADDITION TO environmental/development issues.

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