Updated at 1:39 p.m. Wednesday.
Solana Beach Councilman Dave Roberts appears to heading for a victory over challenger Steve Danon in a tight race to fill the San Diego County Board of Supervisors seat being vacated by Pam Slater-Price.
With all precincts reporting, Roberts—the deputy mayor of the North County coastal city—had 50.7 percent of the vote, compared to 49.3 for Danon, according to unofficial totals released early Wednesday.
Only about 1,900 votes separated the two. As of about 2:25 a.m., about 475,000 absentee or provisional ballots still had to be counted. If his lead holds, Roberts will become the first new supervisor in San Diego County since 1995.
During a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Roberts thanked his campaign volunteers and supports saying though victory was not his yet, he felt “very, very optimistic” about the likelihood that he’d win the open seat.
“This was really a David and Goliath story,” he said. “We began almost three years after my opponent and we caught up in just ten months.”
“I think the winning thing was that we had over two hundred volunteers," Roberts addd. "We were outspent at least seven to one from what we can tell right now, and yet we’re still almost two thousand votes ahead in the turnout.”
If Roberts secures the seat, it will be the first Democrat elected in 19 years. He will also be the first openly gay boardmember.
“I believe I bring new diversity to the board," he said, adding that he and his husband have adopted five foster children from the county who are ages 4 to 17, so he understands what it means to struggle with a work-life balance. "I got home at 4 a.m. and had to be up at 5 a.m. so I could get my kids to four different schools. I'm a real person, and I have those real struggles."
"I think a lot of people recognize that I represent what they’re looking for in their elected official. I have experience in the private and public sector and I have the ability to relate to them."
Slater-Price, whose District 3 stretches from Encinitas to Escondido and includes some Northern San Diego areas, is retiring. The campaign to replace her focused largely on job creation and bolstering the economy.
Danon said, if elected, he would collaborate with chambers of commerce, economic development organizations and business leaders to retain, recruit and create a healthier business environment to provide better paying jobs.
Roberts said he would form an office of small business development to give incentives to small businesses to help in job creation.
Danon and Roberts advanced to a runoff when neither received more than 50 percent of the vote in June primary election. Del Mar Mayor Carl Hilliard; Bryan Ziegler, deputy county counsel; and Stephen Pate, a transportation coordinator in the film industry, were knocked out of the race.
Supervisors Greg Cox and Dianne Jacob beat challengers outright in their June re-election bids.
—City News Service contributed to this story.