In an election initially separated by only a few dozen votes, the District 3 supervisor race at first had seemed too close to call.
Peter Hernandez’s lead grew in the days following the election, and as the ballot counting ended its second week, he had finally gained a substantial lead of 379 votes.
As of Monday Nov. 19, Hernandez had 55.98 percent of the vote with a 379-vote lead over former supervisor and city council member Patricia Loe.
Provisional ballots were still being verified and counted along with vote-by-mail ballots that were postmarked on Election Day or dropped at polling places. Hernandez is a local business owner who ran for the District 3 seat vacated by newly elected Assembly member Robert Rivas. Loe lost her re-election bid for the District 3 supervisor seat to Rivas in 2010.
Hernandez told the Free Lance he is excited to bring a new perspective to the board and believes his business background will provide much needed ideas on cultivating economic development in the county.
Hernandez believes his business skills and four years on the school board have prepared him for his new role. He sees his win as the will of San Benito residents and a need for new voices in the county.
“I can sense that there’s definitely a hunger for a change in how we govern,” said Hernandez.
He believes the county is stagnant and in need of new voices. “It feels like we haven’t really maximized our value in this community,” Hernandez said.
With Jim Gillio’s upset of incumbent Jerry Muenzer in the District 4 supervisor race, there will be two new faces on the board. As of Nov. 19 Gillio had won his election with 73.79 percent of the vote and a 2,131-vote lead over Muenzer.
Gillio had previously told the Free Lance he was excited to work with whoever the other newcomer would be. “We should all have varying thoughts and ideas,” said Gillio, “ and we need to try to work as a team to bring San Benito County into the future.”
Hernandez said he’s eager to work with Gillio and believes Gillio’s shared experience as a business owner would boost the board with a new economic focus. Gillio is a former Gilroy police officer and an appointed Hollister City Council member for District 4. He also owns Central AG Supply, a wholesale and supply store for businesses, occupational safety and health services equipment.
With the two new supervisors, Hernandez hopes increasing tourism to the county will get the attention he feels it deserves. “You have two business guys coming in,” said Hernandez, “so you have more of a focus on return on investment.”