Outgoing DA falls short of winning trustee slot

Retiring San Benito County District Attorney Harry Damkar came
up eight votes shy of winning another elected office in the
Southside School District Board of Trustees race Tuesday night.
Retiring San Benito County District Attorney Harry Damkar came up eight votes shy of winning another elected office in the Southside School District Board of Trustees race Tuesday night.

An estimated 2,128 absentee votes that have yet to be counted may affect the outcome.

As of press time, Bob Tiffany had 32.8 percent of the vote, Jeaneen Conley 25.7, Scott Gilbert 21.1 and Damkar 20.5. A total of 1,425 ballots were counted.

“I’m surprised and happy,” Gilbert said of his narrow victory.

Gilbert was one of two incumbents running for the three seats. Going into Tuesday’s election, he said he was as confident as he could be with something that can have any number of outcomes.

Gilbert said he decided to run for a second term because he enjoys being part of the process and he has more things to do. He has two children who attend Southside School.

Conley was the other incumbent.

Though the vote was close, Damkar said he had no intention of asking for a recount. He said that either way, he’d be pleased with the turnout.

“The whole purpose of the elections is to bring out different perspectives. All the people running are great candidates,” he said. “I’m glad to see there was interest in the school board.”

First-time contender Tiffany captured the most votes – 32.8 percent, or 467 total votes.

Board members serve four-year terms. Southside School is the only school in the district.

The absentee ballots will be counted by Friday, according to the San Benito County Elections Office.

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