SLO County races inch closer to getting decided

Councilwoman Caren Ray

Following another vote count, Arroyo Grande Councilman Caren Ray is now close to mathematically clinching the race to become the South County city’s next mayor, unseating incumbent Jim Hill.

San Luis Obispo County election officials counted ballots on Tuesday, after which Ray was leading Hill by 541 votes. Election officials say only 578 Arroyo Grande ballots are left to be counted.

The margin between Ray and Hill also grew to more than 6 percent. Ray now leads Hill 53.13 percent to 46.87 percent.

In the Morro Bay mayor’s race, the vote differential between Councilman John Headding and businessman John Weiss increased slightly, while the percentage difference decreased slightly. Headding leads Weiss by 207 votes with 421 ballots left to be counted. By percentage, Headding leads 51.98 percent to 48.02 percent.

A few community services district races, likewise, are still undecided, though the top two finishers are close to clinching seats.

Cindy Steidel appears to have secured one seat on the Cambria CSD board. In the race for second place, Donn Howell has a 166-vote lead over appointed incumbent Aaron Wharton with 171 ballots left to be counted.

In the San Miguel CSD race exactly 30 votes separate first and second place and second and third place. Election officials say 90 ballots are left to be counted, but the CSD race may not have appeared on all provisional and non-processed ballots. Appointed incumbent Ashley Sangster is in first place, followed by Hector Palafox in second and Cesar Hernandez, who is currently the odd man out.

A large mistake appears to have occurred in the Los Osos CSD election. SLO County Clerk-Recorder Tommy Gong has already stated the entire election will have to be redone if it is confirmed that one of the seats up for grabs was incorrectly categorized as coming with a two-year term, rather than a four-year term, as it was initially and correctly categorized.

At the moment, Chuck Cesna has a commanding lead in the Los Osos election. In the race for the second available seat, Matthew Fourcroy leads Stephen Best by 67 votes with 564 ballots left to be counted.

The next vote count is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Friday.