Update at 11:50pm
Justin Cummings inched closer to Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson in the race for 3rd District Santa Cruz County Supervisor, moving up .3% in the latest results.
The new results have Kalantari-Johnson with 53.62% of the vote, and Cummings with 45.5%. A total of 32,562 votes have been counted, 19.52% of the registered voters in Santa Cruz County.
Cummings says he isn’t worried: there are still votes to be counted, especially from last-minute voters and mail-in ballots.
“It’s far from over,” says Cummings. “I’ve been reminding people of when I first ran in 2018. At the beginning of the night, I was in sixth place. I think by the end of that first night, I was in fourth. But by the end of the week, I was first.”
Cummings expects to be popular among those last-minute voters, who he thinks might tend to be the younger university students. Those votes might not be counted until later this week, ahead of the second round of polling results that will be released Friday.
Original story at 9:55pm
The race for 3rd District Santa Cruz County Supervisor, pitting Santa Cruz City Council members Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson and Justin Cummings against one another, is turning out to be close. Kalantari-Johnson leads Cummings 53.87% to 45.23%, according to early results released Tuesday night.
The victor of this race will make history. Cummings would be the first Black man elected to the Board of Supervisors, and Kalantari-Johnson would be the first woman of color to serve. Currently, the board is made up of five white men.
Kalantari-Johnson holds key endorsements from outgoing Supervisor Ryan Coonerty, Santa Cruz County Sheriff Jim Hart, and County Superintendent of Schools Faris Sabbah. Her campaign pocket is significant: throughout her race, her campaign racked up donations and contributions of more than $118,000. Kalantari-Johnson ran on a platform that promised to prioritize education, affordable housing and business interests.
Cummings touts himself as for the everyday worker. A renter himself, he has the backing of multiple labor unions, leftist party organizations, and a history of voting for and bringing forward minority issues and affordability projects on the city council. Comparative to Kalantari-Johnson, Cummings had closer to $65,000 to work within spending for his campaign.