After facing multiple months of pressure to resign over the jailhouse death of Andrew Holland, both Sheriff Ian Parkinson and District Attorney Dan Dow won reelection Tuesday in landslide victories, defeating opponents backed by Holland’s family and its supporters.
In the sheriff’s race, Parkinson received 61.52 percent of the vote. Parkinson’s challenger Greg Clayton garnered just 38.41 percent.
Meanwhile, Dow won by an even larger margin. Dow claimed 64.70 percent of the vote in the district attorney’s race. Challenger Mike Cummins received just 35.22 percent.
The Holland family contributed $25,000 each to Clayton and Cummins in an effort to oust Parkinson and Dow after both law enforcement officials refused to resign over the jailhouse incident in which Andrew Holland was strapped to a restraint chair for 46 hours before dying. Additionally, the Holland Family released the videotape of the jailhouse death, prompting multiple protests against Parkinson and Dow, as well as international news coverage of the incident.
Local progressives, too, rallied behind Clayton and Cummins in an effort to unseat Parkinson and Dow, both of whom are Republicans.
Clayton, a retired San Luis Obispo police officer and longtime private investigator, ran for sheriff on a campaign of justice and reform. Clayton and fellow critics of Parkinson pointed not only to Hollands’s death, but to the numerous deaths that have occurred in SLO County Jail in recent year, as evidence of mismanagement of the facility and mistreatment of the mentally ill.
Cummins is a former prosecutor and superior court judge, who served on the bench for more than 10 years. On the campaign trail, Cummins faulted Dow for not investigating the Holland death and vowed he would mount an investigation into the high-profile case if elected.
Parkinson’s election victory secures him a third term as SLO County’s sheriff. Dow won a second term as the top prosecutor in the county.
Before the ballots were counted, the Holland family promised to keep applying pressure if the incumbents were to win reelection.
Even though the sheriff and district attorney races have been decided, some ballots still need to be counted. The results of the elections will not be finalized until later in the month.