Deva Proto is set to be Sonoma County’s next clerk-recorder-assessor and registrar of voters after holding a strong lead in Tuesday’s primary that ensured she will not face a November runoff.
Proto, the current chief deputy clerk-recorder, maintained a huge margin over her two rivals, with 63.7 percent of the vote in her favor and all 405 precincts completed.
Closest to Proto was Ray Leonard, who trailed far behind with 27.4 percent of the vote, while Rod Marusic lagged at 8.4 percent.
Proto needs more than 50 percent of the vote to win outright. Though election workers still need to count 40,000 mail-in ballots, they are unlikely to upend the race.
Leonard, the clerk-recorder-assessor’s longtime administrative services officer, texted Proto on Wednesday morning to congratulate her on her victory in the race to succeed outgoing clerk Bill Rousseau, who endorsed her campaign.
“I’m excited,” Proto said.
“I can focus on work again and the department, and I can start working with Bill on a transition plan. So we’ll have six months to work together and really get everything set up for me taking over in 2019.”
Proto’s top priorities will be overseeing the implementation of a new voting and ballot-counting system the county intends to start rolling out next year, as well as helping manage some of the impacts of last year’s wildfires, she said.
Leonard said he was “very disappointed, obviously,” about the race’s outcome, which he conceded would not change even with the uncounted ballots.
“It’s just too big of a margin to swing,” he said.
Tuesday’s race marked the first time the office was contested in 12 years. Rousseau announced last year he wouldn’t seek another term.
Leonard was the preferred successor of former clerk Janice Atkinson when she stepped down in 2012.
But the Board of Supervisors instead chose Rousseau, who finished the rest of Atkinson’s term and then ran unopposed in 2014.
You can reach Staff Writer J.D. Morris at 707-521-5337.