It wasn't all that early when we hit the election night parties in the Fifth District, but only the mail-in absentee ballots were in. It was neck and neck, less than 100 votes separated candidates Patrick Cleary and Ryan Sundberg. Both were in McKinleyville with supporters: Cleary at Six Rivers Brewery, Sundberg across town at the airport restaurant/bar, the Silver Lining.
With the result uncertain, we asked both candidates to look to the future as hypothetical winners figuring we'd sort out who won in the morning.
Now the "final" results are in, but the race still seems too close to call: Sundberg has 8,765 3,765 votes to Cleary's 3,672 -- just 93 apart, this with an untold number of mail-ins and provisional ballots still uncounted.
As Cleary put it this morning, "Sounds like it could be 30 days before we know the official result of the 5th District election. Apparently there are many more votes to count."
Side note 1: As I finished my interview with Ryan Sundberg in the hallway outside the Silver Lining, a young gentleman who was waiting for a flight stopped on his way into the bar.
"So, you're running for office?" he asked Sundberg, who explained that he was indeed running for Supervisor.
"That's great," said the guy, who later identified himself as Zachariah. "I'll vote for you. What's your name? Give me your card. I'll get my friends to vote for you too."
Sundberg and I jointly explained that it was Election Day and the polls were closed. It was too late to vote.
"That's OK," said Zachariah. "I'm a felon, so I can't vote. And my friends are felons too, so no big deal."
With that he disappeared into the bar leaving us shaking our heads in disbelief.
Side note 2: You'll note that both candidates cited improving broadband access as something they're going to work on. In a separate conversation Cleary told me that Suddenlink Almega Cable has stopped supplying broadband in Willow Creek leaving residents no hard-wired Internet access, only satellite. He sees that as an important problem that must be sorted out quickly and suggested that the community services district could potentially take on the service.