Nearly two weeks after the General Election was held, there remains no clear winner for two races involving current members of the Palm Springs City Council, but two patterns continue to play out.
After both Riverside and San Bernardino counties reported additional counts Monday evening, Palm Springs City Councilmember Christy Holstege, a Democrat, is 97 ahead of Republican Greg Wallis in the race for State Assembly in the 47th District. Meanwhile, the city’s mayor pro tem, Grace Garner, continued to pad her lead over challenger Scott Nevins for the city council’s District 1 seat.
For Holstege and Wallis, the race is a tale of two different sets of would-be constituents: San Bernardino County, which releases its vote counts first each day but has fewer total ballots, breaks clearly for Wallis, while Riverside has been roughly 10% in Holstege’s favor and has many more ballots. As vote counts come in, the two have seen their leads seesaw while awaiting the total from both counties.
On Monday, San Bernardino County reported that roughly 9,400 ballots remain to be counted and an additional 2,900 that are damaged, need to be remade, or require further review. Riverside County reported that roughly 1% of its ballots — 8,000 — remain to be counted. Riverside County’s remaining votes may not be enough to help Nevins, but the two counties combined are enough to keep Holstege, Wallis, and all those with an interest in the Assembly race (and Holstege’s fate on the Palm Springs City Council), in a state of suspense.
Currently, Holstege holds an 83,289 to 83,192 lead, a 50-50 split. San Bernardino County reported on its website that the next vote totals would be dropped on Tuesday evening, but Riverside County’s website says its next tally will not be released until Wednesday. Whenever the final votes are in, pending any possible recount, elections officials in all California counties must complete certification by Dec. 8.
In Palm Springs, Garner picked up an additional 19 votes in Monday’s count, while Nevins picked up 11. That puts the total at 1,448 to 1,387 in her favor. Garner had trailed at the end of vote counting on Election Day, but has gained after each subsequent vote count. She overtook Nevins after vote totals were updated Nov. 16 and has been outpacing him ever since. If the race ends in her favor she will make history in December as the city’s first Latina mayor.
In other Palm Springs City Council races, nothing has changed, as both Jeffrey Bernstein and Ron deHarte appear headed to the dais in December. Bernstein continues to lead Renee Brown in the District 2 race, 1,973 votes to 1,649 (54% to 46%). In District 3, deHarte leads Joy Meredith, 1,947 to 1,049 (65% to 35%).
Holstege is midway through her second term on the City Council as the District 4 representative. Should she win a seat in Sacramento, it would create a vacancy that would be filled by either a special election or an appointment. So far, four people have stepped up to say they would like to fill a potential vacancy.
Nationally, challenger Will Rollins, a Democrat from Palm Springs looking to unseat Republican incumbent Rep. Ken Calvert in the 41st District of the U.S. House, conceded Monday evening. Calvert is up 52% to 48% with 98% of the votes counted in that race.
“When you’ve put your whole heart into something and it doesn’t come out the way the way you wanted, it’s easy to lose hope, to believe that things can never change,” Rollins wrote in a statement released late Monday afternoon. “But I urge you to look around at this amazing community we’ve built over the past year. … We laid the foundation to continue working together towards our common goals.”
You can track the latest vote counts for the 47th District here (note that the Riverside County vote totals usually get added to the totals hours after San Bernardino’s do). You can track the Palm Springs City Council races here.