REGION — Kristin Gaspar arrived at Golden Hall in San Diego shortly after 8:30 p.m. Tuesday night, flanked by her husband, Paul, several supporters and her campaign manager.
Early on in the evening, she expressed confidence that the early returns would hold up and that she would advance to the runoff against incumbent Supervisor Dave Roberts.
“We’re really pleased,” Gaspar said. “It’s a good early indicator of what the vote will be and I am confident that the results will hold up.”
As the evening progressed, the results changed very little, as Roberts emerged as the leader with 39.1 percent of the ballots counted, Gaspar placed second with 33.56 percent and Escondido Mayor Sam Abed finished in third with 27.34 percent.
Roberts and Gaspar will now face off in a runoff election Nov. 7, in a race that will more than likely be one of the more high-profile races on the November ballot.
For Roberts, who faces a serious test in his first re-election bid after he was embroiled in an office scandal and county policy violations that cost the county $310,000 last year to settle, Tuesday night’s results reaffirmed his belief that the voters are happy with his performance, he said.
“It really shows that our message did catch on with the voters, that this nasty campaign that both of my competitors waged does not work,” Roberts said. “They need to figure out a new pony to ride in the fall, because obviously attacking me and attacking each other did not work.”
Roberts said he was confident that he would prevail against either of his opponents in a runoff.
“We were greatly outspent and we plan to be greatly outspent during the fall, but the voters can see through all that nonsense and they really like what I have delivered the past four years and they told me they want me to continue that for the next four years,” he said.
Gaspar received hundreds of thousands of dollars from political action committees sponsored by the San Diego Chamber of Commerce and the Lincoln Club.
Supporters, however, said they believe that Gaspar poses more than just a threat to Roberts in the fall. They believe she has the upper hand.
“She will win,” said Maureen “Mo” Muir, a San Dieguito Union High School District board member who endorsed Gaspar’s campaign. “She is the strongest candidate of the three.”
Gaspar said she believed voters would ultimately hold Roberts accountable for his actions in the fall.
“I think tonight sent the message that the voters will not stand for corruption at the county level or any level at all,” she said.
Christy Guerin, a former Encinitas councilwoman and current Olivenhain Municipal Water District board member, said she believed Gaspar’s performance bodes well for her during the fall because of her position as a moderate alternative to Abed.
“If you look at this district and the voter makeup, it is one-third (Democrat), one-third (Republican), and one-third (Independent),” Guerin said. “If you are not able to capture those independent voters, you really don’t stand a chance. I think this is what makes Kristin such a threat in this race, she has a lot of crossover appeal.”
Roberts on Tuesday night dismissed the idea of Gaspar being a moderate.
“Anyone who thinks that Kristin Gaspar is a moderate has something coming,” Roberts said, citing Gaspar’s vote against Encintas’ Proposition A in 2013, which voters approved and empowers voters with the city’s major land-use decisions. “Just as my predecessor Pam Slater-Price said last weekend when she endorsed me, Kristin Gaspar is no Pam Slater-Price.”
Slater-Price, a registered Republican, was always seen as the moderate member of the five-member Board of Supervisors.