“We’ve been in a little bit of limbo here, hoping that we could catch up and make this general election run off, but enough votes are in that were outside the statistical possibility of doing so,” State Senator Henry Stern said in a selfie video shot outside the State Capitol in Sacramento on Wednesday evening. 

Stern, among the top three candidates vying to replace current LA County Third District Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, trailed opponent Lindsey Horvath throughout vote counting over the past two weeks, but waited to concede the race until he was mathematically eliminated from contention. That finally occurred as the latest vote counts came in from the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s Office on Tuesday afternoon.

With Stern withdrawing from the race, Horvath and fellow Democrat Bob Hertzberg, the top two vote-getters in the race for Third District Supervisor, will officially appear on the November 8, 2022, Midterm Election ballot.

Since LA County has moved away from traditional precinct voting and toward early voting, vote centers, ballot drop boxes and universal vote by mail, many races have taken days or weeks to be decided as ballot results are gathered, tabulated and published. And, although most primary races have now been called, final results from the June 7 primary were not set to be certified until July 1.

As of Tuesday, June 21, an estimated 13,790 ballots remained outstanding, down from initial outstanding ballots numbering approximately 400,000 on the day after Election Day.

Latest vote counts show Senate Majority Leader Emeritus Hertzberg leading the Third District Supervisorial race with 105,522 votes, followed by West Hollywood Mayor Horvath with 94,191 and Stern with 82,511. The remaining three candidates — Jeffi Girgenti, Roxanne Beckford Hoge and Craig A. Brill — scooped up fewer than 60,000 votes combined. The June primary works like a run-off election; as long as more than two candidates appear on the ballot, the top two vote-getters automatically appear on the November ballot. (For local races, if two or fewer names appear, there is no run-off and the candidate wins outright.)

On Wednesday, following the most recent ballot count update, State Senator Ben Allen, representing Santa Monica in District 24, threw his support behind fellow senator Hertzberg.

“With so many challenges facing LA County, from homelessness and healthcare to congestion and crime, I know that Bob will provide a steady hand of leadership and experience on the Board of Supervisors,” Allen said in a statement provided by the Hertzberg campaign.

Horvath’s team declared victory in an email delivered two hours before Stern’s campaign officially bowed out on Wednesday evening, 15 days after Election Day. 

“My heart is full of gratitude for everyone who entrusted me with their vote,” Horvath said in a statement provided by her campaign. “I am thankful for my family, friends, and supporters who made today possible. Our campaign focused on delivering results for the people who need it most. We cannot settle for last-century thinking that does not understand and cannot solve the problems we face today.”

Stern declined to speak to the Daily Press for this story. In his video statement, he likewise declined to endorse either of his competitors.

Other races that appeared on the June 7 primary ballot in Santa Monica remained unchanged from initial reporting, even as hundreds of thousands of ballots were counted: Allen, who ran unopposed, of course retained 100 percent of votes cast and Assembly hopeful Rick Chavez Zbur came out ahead of fellow candidate Louis Abramson. Incumbent U.S House Representative Ted Lieu (D) won in a landslide over runner-up Joe E. Collins III (R) and incumbent Sheriff Alex Villanueva bested runner-up Robert Luna. Villanueva eked out just about 30 percent of total ballots cast in a crowded field, with Luna behind at around 25 percent. 

Across city limits in Venice, the race for Council District 11 remains between Erin Darling and runner up Traci Park. 

With primary election results decided, many high-profile races are already locked in for the November ballot, but not all. Local races including Santa Monica City Council, Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Board of Education, Santa Monica College Board and local, regional, and state bond measures and propositions are all still to be determined. 

emily@smdp.com