Mammoth Elects Hoff, Sauser, County Sends Peters, Fesko to November Runoff

Wendilyn Grasseschi
Times Reporter

Mono County took the road less traveled on Election Day this week, choosing Senator Bernie Sanders as its Democratic Presidential nominee by a margin of 54.16 percent to Hillary Clinton’s 44.66 percent.

Inyo County also voted for Sanders, and thus both Eastern Sierra counties defied much of the rest of the state which gave Clinton a clear majority of 55.8 percent to Sander’s 43.2 percent of the vote.

Donald Trump took home 71 percent of the Republican vote.

All of these votes, and those noted below, are “semi-official”; the final tally however is not expected to change the outcome of the races, according to county election officials (see below for more information on this process).

Mammoth Lakes elected two new Town Council members from a total of four candidates running for the seats, despite a ballot proofing mistake late last month that resulted in having to print a brand new Town Council-only ballot. At one point, it looked as if the Town Council election could be delayed, but in the end it was held as planned.

Top Mammoth Lakes Town Council vote-getter Cleland Hoff took home 773 votes or 31.49 percent; second in line was Bill Sauser, who took home 648 votes or 28.22. percent of the total votes cast.

The council race goes to the two people who got the most votes, and although newcomer Jennifer Burrows gave it a good try, taking in 537 votes, or 23.39 percent, she was unable to catch up to longtime locals Hoff and Sauser.

Likewise, write-in candidate Brent Truax also never caught up, after not having his name make it onto the ballot at the beginning of the race. Truax took home 388 votes, or 16.9 percent.

In northern Mono County, a tight race between two Mono County District 4 candidates, incumbent Tim Fesko and challenger John Peters, stayed tight; the race will continue in a runoff as neither candidate received a simple majority.

Peters took home the most votes, 327 votes or 45.8 percent of the votes. Fesko, who won his four-year seat after a race against Peters’ father, Bob Peters, trailed Peters, coming in at 281 votes or 39.36 percent of the votes.

The two men will face off again in November during the General Election.

Bob Tems, the third District 4 candidate, did not make waves – except to possibly cause the runoff – coming in at 101 votes or 14.15 percent of the vote. Tems did not aggressively campaign.

Measure G, the Mammoth Unified School Board bond measure that levies an annual $59 parcel tax on property owners within the district, easily passed with 79.12 percent of the vote. Proposition 50 also passed in Mono County with 78.12 percent of the vote. Proposition 50 allows the state legislature to suspend one of its members without pay with a two-thirds vote.

Longtime county supervisor, Tim Alpers, announced late last year he would not seek re-election. The only candidate for the District 3 seat, newcomer Bob Gardner, took home 94.24 percent of the vote.

District 2 Supervisor Fred Stump did not face a challenger, and at 97.07 percent of the vote, it is clear his constituents were behind him.

Voter turnout, about 54.66 percent, was about average for Mono County for a primary election, according to Clerk/Registrar of Voters Bob Musil. It it might have been a bit reduced by the fact that the presidential primary race was called for Clinton and Trump before California finished voting, and due to the ballot proofing mistake that triggered the county to print a new Town Council ballot.

One thing to remember is that the above numbers are not the final vote tally, although Musil said as this time, he does not expect the outcome of the races to change.

Still to come is counting more than 150 provisional ballots. Some outlying ballots can come in as late as June 10 under a new state law. A sample hand-count of at least one precinct that equals at least one percent of the total votes cast will be undertaken.

After that, Musil has to certify the tally, moving the above “semi-official vote tally” to a final tally, something that must occur within 30 days of the vote, or in this case, by July 5.