.Nov. 8, 2022 Election: Hernandez Takes Lead on Dutra in 4th District Race

Former Watsonville mayor holds 55% of the early votes for key South County seat

Update at 12:03am (Wednesday)

Felipe Hernandez’s lead over Jimmy Dutra in the race for 4th District Santa Cruz County Supervisor has fallen slightly in the latest round of results.

Hernandez now leads Dutra with 54.67% of the vote. There have been 3,026 votes accounted for as of 11:23pm.


Original story at 8:34pm

According to initial results released Tuesday night, Felipe Hernandez has taken an early lead on Jimmy Dutra in the race for the 4th District Santa Cruz County Supervisor seat.

Hernandez, the former mayor of Watsonville and current member of the Cabrillo College Governing Board, secured 55.06% of the 1,951 votes that had been counted as of 8:16pm.

The early results are an inverse of the June 7 primary, when Dutra, a current Watsonville city councilman, took an early lead on Hernandez and nearly won the seat outright in a three-candidate race.

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But much has changed since then, and Dutra’s campaign suffered a significant blow on Oct. 5 when a man filed a sexual assault lawsuit against Dutra, claiming that the candidate molested him when he was 12. 

Dutra has denied the allegations, calling them “baseless.”

Hernandez, 51, served as a councilman between 2012-2020. He ran unsuccessfully for the 4th District Supervisor seat in 2018, taking third in the primary that year.

If he hangs on, Hernandez would be the first Latino on the board of supervisors since Tony Campos was ousted in 2010 by outgoing Supervisor Greg Caput, who elected not to run for a fourth term earlier this year and endorsed Hernandez for the seat.

Dutra, 47, earned his second term on the city council in 2020. He served as mayor last year. His first term on the city council was from 2014 to 2018. He stepped away from politics after running unsuccessfully for the 4th District Supervisor seat in 2018—he placed a distant second behind Caput.

This story will be updated.

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