Latest Sonoma County election results undecided for tight races

The latest set of election results came out at 6:35 p.m. The update could determine the result of races for Sonoma County Sheriff, Superior Court Judge and County Superintendent of Schools.|

Updated Sonoma County election results released Friday evening showed a new lead in the race for a Sonoma County Superior Court judge position.

Results, however, did not reveal any clear winners in the tight races from Tuesday’s primary, leaving those outcomes hanging in the balance heading into the weekend.

Election officials had counted 72,403 ballots as of 6:35 p.m. That’s an increase from 65,281 ballots from earlier Friday afternoon.

An estimated 65,000 ballots, including those cast by mail and provisional ballots, remain to be processed, Registrar of Voters Deva Proto said Friday afternoon. The latest result brings that number closer to 57,900.

The updated tally brought voter turnout to 21.47%. Proto estimated turnout could reach 40% after remaining ballots are counted. She said the office hoped to have the majority posted by next week.

The update did not much sway the standings of races for Sonoma County Sheriff and County Superintendent of Schools, meaning the possibility of November runoffs is still on the table.

In the race for Superior Court judge, Oscar Pardo is now leading by a slim margin over Joseph Passalacqua, who had been ahead slightly since Tuesday night.

“My guess is we won't know for sure about the outcome of the races until we certify,” Proto said.

The county has 30 days to certify the results, but Proto said it would not take that long.

“We have mandated processes and procedures that we have to follow and so people should be patient,” Proto said. “And we’re working as quickly we can.”

There are 304,008 registered voters in the county.

Friday’s ballot counting efforts were hampered by a power outage about 3:30 p.m. that lasted roughly two hours. The registrar’s office had a backup generator that kicked into use, Proto said.

Sonoma County Sheriff

Friday’s update put Eddie Engram, a 48-year-old Sonoma County assistant sheriff, just over the 50% threshold to avoid a November runoff, but only at a razor thin margin.

Current results have Engram with 50.10% of the 66,355 votes counted.

Engram could not be immediately reached for comment.

His closest opponent, Carl Tennenbaum, a 65-year-old retired San Francisco police sergeant, trailed with 27.57%, while Dave Edmonds, a 59-year-old former Sheriff’s Office Capt., had 13.40%.

The race for sheriff was the marquee contest on the local ballot, and just the second contested contest for the post in the past quarter century. It came in the shadow of a national movement urging greater police transparency and accountability, placing greater scrutiny on local departments including the Sheriff’s Office.

Kevin Burke, the former Healdsburg police chief who died suddenly in April after pulling out of the sheriff’s race, received 8.93% of votes.

Superior Court judge

In one of two races for Superior Court judge, the gap between Passalacqua, 60, and Pardo, 49, also is minuscule.

Pardo, a civil litigator, has 50.18% of the 62,885 votes counted and Passalacqua, a defense attorney, has 49.82%. The margin between the two candidates was just 227 votes.

The race was one of two for judge on the ballot this year — an unusual occurrence in that judges races typically only reach ballots when a vacancy on the bench corresponds with a general election.

Superior court judges serve six-year terms and must then run for reelection.

The other race for judge was a landslide. Laura Passaglia McCarthy, a 42-year-old court commissioner, received 82.33% of the vote. Her opponent, defense attorney John LemMon, 59, received 17.67%.

County Superintendent of Schools

The top vote-getters for county superintendent of schools, Amie Carter and Brad Coscarelli, remain poised for a November runoff.

Carter, an assistant superintendent with the Marin County Office of Education, had 44.32% of the 62,155 votes counted, while Coscarelli, the Hidden Valley Elementary principal, had 34.04%.

Ron Meza Calloway, superintendent of the Mark West Union School District and the third candidate in the race, received 21.63%.

California’s county superintendents of schools are responsible for overseeing local school districts’ fiscal stability and services provided by the county office of education, including special education and other academic support.

2nd District Supervisor

In the race for 2nd District Supervisor, incumbent David Rabbitt continues to hold a comfortable lead over his opponent Blake Hooper, but both candidates said Wednesday they were waiting for Friday’s results.

Rabbitt has 58.61% of the 13,108 votes counted Tuesday night. Hooper and Kevin Hayenga, another candidate for the seat, were trailing with 36.20% and 5.20% of the vote.

Hooper’s number climbed by 0.21% in Friday’s update, but Rabbitt’s margin above the simple majority means Hooper would need to see a dramatic change in the remaining votes counted in order to force a runoff.

“The campaign is letting the process play out,” Josh Simmons, Hooper’s campaign manager, said in a text message. “There are many aspects of this election that are new to people and we’re content to honor what the Registrar of Voters has said: counting takes time.”

While the candidates for sheriff, judge and superintendent can pick up votes all across the county because the offices are countywide positions, candidates for 2nd District Supervisor have a smaller pool of voters.

The 2nd District has 64,325 registered voters, according to Proto. The district includes Petaluma, Penngrove, Cotati, a sliver of Rohnert Park, Bloomfield, Two Rock, and the San Pablo Bay shore out to Sears Point.

Rabbitt and Hooper did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Editor’s Note: This story has been edited to include updates from the Sonoma County Registrar of Voter’s Office as of 6:35 p.m.

Staff reporters Emily Wilder, Kaylee Tornay and Colin Atagi contributed to this story.

You can reach Staff Writer Emma Murphy at 707-521-5228 or On Twitter @MurphReports.

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