The San Benito County District 2 Supervisor race has taken on the feel of the presidential election. As of Wednesday morning, both races are too close to call. Kollin Kosmicki and Wayne Norton—the two candidates vying for the D-2 seat—both were waiting for all the votes to be counted.
In one of the more hotly contested local election races in recent memory, Kosmicki held a slim lead with 2,284 votes to Norton’s 2,188 (51 percent to 48.9 percent). The vote totals were last updated by the registrar’s office at 10:13pm Tuesday. Kosmicki, the controlled-growth candidate who opposed the Measure N Strada Verde project—which went down in defeat by a resounding margin—hopes his slim lead holds up once the County Registrar of Voters release the final vote tally on Friday afternoon.
Norton said he hasn’t been in contact with anyone from the registrar’s office, but has a source who told him there are still over 5,000 ballots to be counted.
“Where those votes are, I don’t really know,” Norton said, “but I still think all the votes have to be counted and it’s important every voter’s voice be heard. We’re waiting like everyone else in the county.”
Both Kosmicki and Norton—the longtime director of the Aromas Water District who has been recognized as an environmental advocate—are on pins and needles having to go into overtime to find out who will go on to replace Anthony Botelho as the county’s new district 2 supervisor.
“I’m human and certainly nervous,” Kosmicki said. “Tuesday was a long night and going in I thought there would be a chance this would be a pretty close race, so I wasn’t shocked by that. Just the reality of that certainly creates a certain level of anxiety and stress, but I’m managing well.”
The District 2 Supervisor race has been particularly grueling, as Kosmicki and Norton have been campaigning for the better part of 19 months. Five candidates vied for the seat in the March primary, and when no one received at least 50 percent of the vote, the top two vote getters—Kosmicki and Norton—advanced to the general election.
“Running for office for 19 months, you put a lot of the rest of your life on hold,” Norton said. “So today I’m going to do some chores around the house, take the opportunity to bounce my granddaughter on my knee and sort of reconnect and get back to sort of what a normal life is as we wait for the result to be finalized.”
Said Kosmicki: “I’m doing OK. I have a strong family support system, and we’ll be OK either way. But I’m obviously excited to see the final results.”
The race hasn’t been bereft of drama, as Kosmicki sent a request on Oct. 23 to the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission to investigate two types of political advertisements recently posted by Norton.
“We’ve worked hard and ran a clean campaign that focused on the important issues,” Norton said.
Said Kosmicki: “I ran a campaign from the beginning where I committed myself to doing things differently, and that created additional inherent challenges other candidates don’t have to face. By only accepting small donations and not doing the endorsement game—I had no interest in going around and putting names on my campaign—I ran on a campaign where voters could judge me for who I am and what I say.”