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2020 Primary Election: Recall Results, Congress, Local Measures and More

Wins, losses and too-close-to-call March 3 races in Santa Cruz County

City Councilmember Chris Krohn was one of two councilmembers up for a recall vote. PHOTO: TARMO HANNULA

Update, March 4: This story has been updated with the latest election results, which the elections department posted at 10:23am, according to a timestamp on the election department page. This story has also been updated to reflect additional information in the local Congressional race.

The immediate political futures of the two Santa Cruz city councilmembers are currently in question.

Councilmembers Drew Glover and Chris Krohn faced a recall effort on the March 3 ballot as part of the California primary, which overlaps with Super Tuesday in the Democratic Party’s presidential nominating process.

As of the most recently updated election results, 56% of voters are supporting Glover’s removal from office and 54% are supporting the removal of Krohn. Given that more left-leaning voters often vote later, the totals have slowly been improving for Glover and for Krohn as more results trickle in.

Glover and Krohn faced criticism for their conduct at City Hall, as each man found himself at the center of repeated workplace incidents, including several situations that prompted women at the city to submit formal complaints under the Respectful Workplace Conduct Policy. Of those complaints, independent investigators substantiated one complaint against Krohn and two against Glover.

Additionally, the two Santa Cruz for Bernie-endorsed politicians faced heat for some of their policy positions, including their support for just-cause evictions, which ignited the ire of local landlords and property managers, who spent significant money on the recall. After factoring in the costs of petition circulating last year, the effort’s supporters ended up outspending recall opponents by a ratio of seven to one.

There are also the races for each of the two seats that would be open if either man gets removed from office. In the race for Glover’s seat, schoolteacher Renée Golder leads former Mayor Tim Fitzmaurice, who teaches writing at UCSC and at California correctional facilities. The race for Krohn’s seat includes two former mayors, with marathon runner and retired librarian Katherine Beiers competing with foundation manager Don Lane. Beiers is in the lead.

Mixed Results for Local Measures 

Measure R, the Cabrillo College bond, is currently in the hole, with just 50% approval at the polls. The measure would need 55% in order to pass. The community college suffered defeat with a different bond measure at the polls four years ago. After talk of a possible bond began this past fall, the risk was that college leaders were gambling on a campaign window that didn’t leave enough time to rally the necessary support. The Cabrillo Board of Trustees ultimately voted in December to place the $274 million bond measure on the March 3 ballot.

Most other local measures are in a good position to pass. Bond measures for the San Lorenzo Valley School District and Soquel Union Elementary School District, however, are both trailing.

In the Congressional race, Watsonville-based environmental activist Adam Bolaños Scow is taking on Congressmember Jimmy Panetta (D-Carmel), who has a big lead. In Santa Cruz County’s election results, Scow is in a virtual tie with Monterey County Republican Jeff Gorman. But Scow’s trailing badly in San Benito and Monterey counties, and he would have to come in second in order to get himself into the November run-off.

In the contest for California’s 27th Senate District, former Resources Secretary John Laird is in first, followed by former Grand Juror Vicki Nohrden in second and Santa Cruz Community Ventures Executive Director Maria Cadenas in third.

In the race for judge, County Counsel Nancy de la Peña is in first, followed by defense attorneys Annrae Angel and Jack Gordon in second and third, respectively. The judicial seat was vacated by embattled Judge Ariadne Symons, who announced her retirement last year. Symons faced scrutiny in the aftermath of a public censure from the Commission on Judicial Performance and mounting pressure after Angel announced her decision to run against her.

In the county’s 1st supervisorial district, Supervisor John Leopold has 46% of the vote. If he gets above 50%, he will win outright. If not, he’ll face a run-off election in November, probably against former Santa Cruz County Greenway Director Manu Koenig, who’s at 29%.

With 68% of the vote, 2nd District County Supervisor Zach Friend is beating challenger Becky Steinbrunner by a comfortable margin.

In his bid for the Democratic Party’s nomination for president, Sen. Bernie Sanders  (I-Vermont) is leading in Santa Cruz County with 38% of the vote. He is expected to carry California as a whole.

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