Race tightens for Third District Supervisor and shifts for Encinitas School Board

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A surge of newly counted votes, believed to have come from Encinitas, has pushed Encinitas mayor Kristin Gaspar to within a few hundred votes of incumbent Third District Supervisor Dave Roberts and propelled conservative challenger Leslie Schneider into the No. 2 spot in the race for two seats on the Encinitas Union School District board of trustees.

After the San Diego County Registrar of voters updated the vote count Thursday night, Gaspar is just 560 votes short of Roberts, with the incumbent barely clinging on to a lead, 50.15 percent to 49.85 percent.

According to the latest tally, Roberts has 91,619 votes to 91,059 for Gaspar. The difference between the two shrunk to 560 from 1,735 the day before and 2,293 on election night. Election night ended with 620,000 votes, countywide, still uncounted; as of last night that total has shrunk to 314,000.

District 3 includes Del Mar, Encinitas, Escondido, Rancho Bernardo and Solana Beach, as well as a large expanse of northern San Diego, including parts of Carmel Valley, Mira Mesa, Scripps Ranch and Rancho Penasquitos.

Roberts’ first term as the county board’s only Democrat was marred by allegations that he mistreated staffers, misused county resources and engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a staff member. Three former staffers filed formal claims with the county, prompting Roberts’ colleagues on the board to approve a $310,000 settlement.

Roberts has consistently denied the allegations; in April, San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said her office would not file criminal charges but conceded, “Supervisor Dave Roberts violated county and civil workplace policies.”

Gaspar won the right to square off against Roberts in the June primary, where she bested Escondido Mayor, and fellow Republican, Sam Abed.

According to the latest statistics from the San Diego County Registrar of Voters, there are a total of 339,798 registered voters in the Third District. Formerly a solid Republican district, Democrats as of Oct. 24 hold a slight edge, with 113,733 registered voters compared to 111,105 registered Republicans.

Meanwhile, in the trustee race for the Encinitas Union School District, Schneider according to the latest tally has overtaken appointed incumbent Patricia S. Sinay and is now in second place, with 10,965 votes to Sinay’s 10,906.

The two top vote-getters will be on the board.

Parent Rimga Viskanta remains in first place, with 11,478 votes.

Schneider and fellow challenger Anne-Katherine Pingree, running last, both entered the race with the backing of local Republicans. Both have been active in protests against the school board’s decision earlier this year to pay for yoga instruction in Encinitas schools, at the expense of traditional physical education.

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