Tuesday, October 16 , 2018, 12:40 pm | Fair 77º

 
 
 
 

Farr Changes the Script in Third District Victory for Supervisor’s Seat

Traditional north-south split, and UCSB/Isla Vista student vote, are muted by low turnout in June 5 election

At first glance, Doreen Farr’s re-election victory in the race for the Third District seat on the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors appeared to follow the long-standing script — a clear political split between the northern and southern parts of the district.

Santa Barbara County 3rd District Supervisor Doreen Farr celebrates with supporters in Goleta after her June 5 re-election. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk file photo via Instagram)
Santa Barbara County 3rd District Supervisor Doreen Farr celebrates with supporters in Goleta after her June 5 re-election. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk file photo via Instagram)

But some traditional assumptions — most notably the potent effects of the student bloc in the south and conservative voters in the north — were relatively muted, in part by low turnout, according to a Noozhawk analysis of the June 5 balloting.

Farr did very well on the South Coast, pulling in 73 percent of the votes from precincts in Goleta, Isla Vista and UCSB.

Her challenger, Buellton businessman Steve Pappas, won the North County portion of the district, but by a much smaller margin: 52.9 percent to 47.2 percent.

Overall, Farr had a comfortable margin of victory, 54.8 percent to 45.3 percent, in the rematch of her 2008 race against Pappas.

North County voters dominate the district, with more than 70 percent residing north of the Santa Ynez Mountains.

Conservative politicians and activists for years have decried the impact of Isla Vista/UCSB voters, and complained bitterly that the Third District has been gerrymandered to give the strongly left-leaning voter bloc the ability to sway elections.

True to form, UCSB and Isla Vista voters went overwhelmingly for Farr, whose politics lie left of center. She reaped 81.5 percent of their ballots, to 18.5 percent for Pappas.

But if the UCSB/Isla Vista voters favored Farr, they appeared anything but passionate. In those 11 precincts, turnout was dismal, ranging from a high of about 32 percent to a low of just over 6 percent.

“Something that really didn’t happen is the vote in UCSB and Isla Vista,” Farr said after the election. “It was not very strong at all.”

District-wide, turnout was about 38 percent.

In the northern portion of the district, Pappas bested Farr in all areas except the city of Guadalupe, which was newly added to the Third District during last year’s remapping.

In the Santa Ynez Valley, Pappas achieved a healthy margin, taking 55.6 percent to 44.4 percent for Farr.

It was much closer further west, in the unincorporated areas of the Lompoc Valley, where Pappas edged Farr by 3-4 percentage points.

Guadalupe, with a total of less than 500 votes out of more than 12,500 cast, strongly favored Farr, 68.8 percent to 31.4 percent for Pappas.

As the dust settled late last week, Farr attributed her victory to her track record in office the last four years, and an aggressive campaign that focused on every part of the district.

“I do think it was our record,” she said. “Overall, what people cared about was somebody who could get things done.”

The June 5 election was a rerun of a race four years ago in which Farr won by the narrowest of margins. Pappas subsequently mounted a long-running legal challenge, alleging that voter fraud, especially in Isla Vista precincts, denied him the victory.

Farr ultimately prevailed in court, and Pappas has been ordered to pay her hefty legal bills.

Farr said she believes Pappas’ legal action hurt him at the polls.

“I think that weighed against him for some people,” Farr said.

Looking forward, she said, “Clearly we have to stay focused on the budget, on economic development and job creation. We are seeing some positive signs, but it’s not that good yet.”

Pappas did not respond to Noozhawk’s request for an interview for this story.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Email
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership
×

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >