Roberts poised to win over Danon in Supervisor race

Roberts has 50 percent, Danon has 49 percent

SAN DIEGO - Solana Beach Councilman Dave Roberts appeared likely Wednesday to defeat 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.

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.

The two 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.

"A David and Goliath story"

"This was really a David and Goliath story," Roberts said Wednesday morning outside of his campaign headquarters in Solana Beach.

In Roberts' story, Goliath would be Danon -- a Republican, San Diego State University graduate and backed by deep pockets, according to financial disclosure records.

The board is currently made up of Republicans and SDSU graduates who have served together since 1995.

With Roberts would come not only the first Democrat board member in nearly 20 years, but also diversity.

"I happen to be a gay man who is married with 5 adopted foster children," said Roberts.

He didn't shield his personal life from voters. In fact, his family was featured prominently on campaign literature.

"I know how to balance work life with family life," said Roberts, referring to how he returned home at 4 a.m. election night and then had to be up by 5:30 a.m. to get the kids ready for school.

"I think voters connect with that because I'm a real person and I have these real struggles like everybody else," Roberts added.

Roberts has also been public about how he has donated his $600-a-month salary as deputy mayor to local charities for eight years.

Additionally, Slater-Price, a Republican crossed party lines to endorse him.

"I had over 30 Republicans, current and former elected Republican officials who supported me," Roberts said.

Roberts said he believes he will work well with the Republican supervisors because he has worked with a couple of them already.

But can he work with Aztecs?

"I can get along with anybody," he said, laughing.

Would this change in the makeup of the county board be an exception or could it become the rule?

"It's an exceptional occurrence that is going to become the rule. We haven't had it happen before like this for years, but if you look at the demographics, within the next election cycle or two, you could end up with a majority of Democrats on the Board of Supervisors," said political analyst Carl Luna, Ph.D.

The long tenure of board supervisors is becoming a thing of the past, as voters approved term limits in 2010.

Supervisors are now subject to two 4-year terms.

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