Larry Doss, candidate for Humboldt County Supervisor. | Image via Facebook.


The “carpetbagger” tag got hung on local real estate broker Larry Doss even before his campaign for Fifth District Humboldt County Supervisor officially began. 

The epithet may not strictly apply to Doss. After all, it can’t be said that he has no ties whatsoever in the Fifth District. It’s true that until recently, and for many years, he lived at a property called the Shiny 4D Ranch at the south end of Eureka. Still, Doss and his wife have owned a ranch property up in Orick since 2004, and that’s now his primary residence.

Doss moved north when he did largely so he could qualify as a challenger to incumbent Fifth District Supervisor Steve Madrone. He told the Outpost as much in September. 

But his answers to residency questions on the campaign trail haven’t helped him to shake the “carpetbagger” accusations. In interviews and candidate forums, Doss has given a few different answers when asked how long he’s lived in the Fifth, none of which quite align with records on file with the county. 

When the Times-Standard endorsed Madrone back on April 17, the paper noted, “Doss told us he purchased his ranch in 2004 and in 2020, amid the pandemic, he and his family chose to make it his full-time residence.”

The extra context, there — “amid the pandemic” — suggests a clear memory of the moving experience. 

Doss gave a similar response at a May 16 candidate forum run by the League of Women Voters and broadcast on KEET TV. 

“My primary residence in the Fifth District has been since 2020,” he said. “And I’ve been registered to vote since 2020 in the Fifth District.”

He went on to say that he has lived and “owned our family home” in the Fifth District since 2004. This living-in-two-places-at-once situation must be what he was relying on when responding to a Times-Standard candidate questionnaire, published May 5:

Q: How long have you been living in 5th District?

Doss: Since 2004

Even if one accepts this dual residency, the dates don’t align with Doss’ tenure as the First District representative on the Humboldt Bay, Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District’s Board of Commissioners, a seat he filled until October 2021.

To serve on the Harbor District board, you must live in the district you represent. Doss represented District 1, which includes southern Eureka, Ferndale and much of the Eel River Valley, until the meeting of October 14, 2021, when the board accepted his letter of resignation.

Doss’ Oct. 1, 2021, letter to his fellow commissioners, which you can find in this agenda packet, says, “My residence has changed as of today to Orick, which makes me ineligible to serve out my term. Our family move has been an 18 year plan in the works and I expected it would be year or so out, but I could not pass this opportunity, plus I’m not getting any younger.”

So arguably still “amid the pandemic,” but not 2020. 

When I interviewed Doss in September 2021 he acknowledged that his “official residence” was still in Eureka, saying he and his wife regularly go back and forth between there and the Orick property.

Staff at the Humboldt County Elections Office said Doss re-registered at his new Orick address the following month — on or near October 4, 2021. So his claim to have been registered to vote in the Fifth since 2020 doesn’t check out, either.

But he did re-register in plenty of time to qualify for his campaign run. Registrar of Voters Kelly Sanders recently told us via email, “A candidate for county supervisor needs to be registered in the district for 30 days prior to filling out candidacy forms.” Doss submitted his candidacy forms this past February.

Meanwhile, the Humboldt County Assessor’s Office still has the Shiny 4D Ranch address listed as Doss’ primary residence, the one for which he can claim a property tax exemption, though Deputy Assessor Howard LaHaie told us that Doss has submitted a change-of-address form; it just hasn’t been processed yet. (LaHaie wouldn’t say exactly when the form was submitted.)

Madrone has been troubled by the inconsistencies. “This residency matter is important, and it keeps getting more concerning,” he said during the KEET debate. 

A voicemail left for Doss seeking clarification on these questions was not immediately returned.