UPDATE, 10:58 p.m.: SECOND REPORT! Fullerton Takes Lead in Eureka’s Third Ward; Race Tightens in Fifth

The second election night report is in — see it here — and the big news, I suppose, is that with about 350 more votes counted in Eureka’s Third Ward, longtime planning commissioner John Fullerton has pulled slightly ahead of G. Mario Fernandez. Currently stands at about 53 percent Fullerton, 47 percent Fernandez, with, of course, lots and lots more votes left to be counted.

Meanwhile, in the Fifth Ward, Renee Contreras de Loach continues to hold a small lead over Nicholas Kohl — 51.4 percent to 48.6 percent. 

Meanwhile, up in Arcata, the same story — Meredith Matthews and Kimberley White with big leads for the two open seats. 

Juan Pablo Cervantes continues to hold a steady lead over Tiffany Hunt Nielsen in the race for Clerk/Recorder/Registrar of Voters — 52.9 percent to 47.1 percent.

An aside: Kinda interesting that Arcata’s Measure M — the one that would mandate the city fly the Earth Flag at the top of the flagpole — seems to be going down kinda hard, at least with the vote counted so far. As of this writing 58.1 percent of voters are saying: Uh, no.

— Hank Sims


UPDATE, 10:23 p.m.: Relief at Septentrio

There seems to have been a palpable sense of relief up at Septentrio in Arcata, with disgraced councilmember Brett Watson a distant third in the first set of results.

Incumbent and candidate Meredith Matthews checks numbers with her council colleague, Sarah Schaefer. Photo: Andrew Goff.

Schaefer and city manager Karen Diemer put the numbers up on the big board. Photo: Andrew Goff.

Matthews and Diemer share a hug.

— Hank Sims


UPDATE, 9:55 p.m.: The Eureka Scene at North of Fourth

Candidate Ryan confers with her trivia team over the question “What field of science deals with materials at a very low temperature?” Photo: Andrew Goff.

Several Eureka candidates are celebrating election night by testing their wits with a wee bit of trivia between cocktails and enchiladas at North of Fourth in Old Town.

Julie Ryan, who is vying for a seat on the Humboldt Community Services District governing board, told the Outpost she’s feeling “cautiously optimistic” about the preliminary results.

“I’ve put the work in and have had a lot of support and I’m really grateful for that, she said. “I’ve been running into a lot of people who are really supportive of what I’m doing. I’m actually a little bit more stressed about about bigger elections across the country, because fuck fascism.”

Ryan said her campaign has been especially interesting “because it’s such an under the radar position” and has focused the last few months going door to door to get the word out and educate the public.

“I decided to run because community services districts deal with a lot more than just water, sewer and streetlights,” she said. “A big piece of the campaign has been educating people and saying, ‘Hey! Special districts across California do conservation work, parks and recreation, libraries, fire departments and other essential services for people who live outside city limits. … It’s a real privilege to be able to run for office and have the capacity to do board service.”

Eureka’s Third Ward council candidate G. Mario Fernandez is mingling with supporters at North of Fourth as well. Despite “a little bit of butterflies,” Fernandez said he’s optimistic.

“It would be nice to know one way or another before I go to bed tonight,” he laughed. “It’s been good. I’ve had a lot of great conversations with people, it feels like the vibe is there.”

Supervisor Mike Wilson confers with Ward 3 Eureka City Council candidate G. Mario Fernandez.

Juan Pablo Cervantes calls in to North of Fourth to express his gratitude to his supporters.

— Isabella Vanderheiden


UPDATE, 9:08 p.m.: First Results!

Well, FML, LoCO Bot failed. 

Briefly¸ with around 7,500 votes counted:

In the first count, Meredith Matthews and Kimberley White are way ahead in Arcata, each with 30+%. Brett Watson is down around 10%, along with Raelina Krikston.

In the Clerk/Recorder/Registrar race, Juan Pablo Cervantes has a slight lead over Tiffany Hunt Nielsen, 52.7 percent to 47.2 percent.

In Eureka, G. Mario Fernandez and John Fullerton are neck-and-neck for the Third Ward, 51.2 percent to 48.7 percent Fernandez. In the Fifth Ward, though, kind of a shocker — Renee Contreras de Loach has a pretty substantial lead, with 56.1 percent of the early vote over Nicholas Kohl.

Also: Insurgent candidate Julie Ryan is, so far, muscling out Alan Bongio for the Humboldt Community Services District seat! Two seats are up: incumbent Gregg Gardiner has about 40.4 percent, Ryan has about 34.2 percent, and Bongio is placing a distant third, with about 25.3 percent.

Full results here.

— Hank Sims


UPDATE, 8:55 p.m.: New elections result posted


— LoCO Staff


UPDATE, 8:55 p.m.: New elections result posted


— LoCO Staff


UPDATE, 8:49 p.m.:

A large crowd of Arcata folks are eagerly awaiting election results at the Septentrio Winery enjoying wine and appetizers at an election night party hosted by Arcata City Council candidate Meredith Matthews.

Matthews told the Outpost that she is feeling “pretty positive” about the election, and that she looks forward to being elected by the voters for her second term (Matthews was appointed by the council for her current term and this was her first time running a campaign.)

“I’m feeling excited about tonight,” Matthews said. “I’m really looking forward to the opportunity for another four years. I’ve got a lot of wonderful support.”

In addition to Matthew’s friends and family, some other council members and city staff are partying down at Septentrio tonight, including Arcata City Manager Karen Diemer, Councilmember Sarah Schaefer and Arcata City Council candidate Raelina Krikston.

Kriston is also feeling the positive election night energy, and said that at this point she’s just trying to remain as calm as she can as the results roll in.

“It’s like fucked-up Christmas,” Krikston told the Outpost. “You’ve got the same sense of anticipation.”

— Stephanie McGeary


UPDATE, 8:15 p.m.: Arcata Elex-Heads Gather at Septentrio Winery

From left: Humboldt County Film Commissioner Cassandra Hesseltine, Arcata City Councilmember Sarah Schaefer, Arcata City Councilmember (and current candidate) Meredith Matthews, former Humboldt County President of Positivity Michaele Whiteley, Septentrio owner Tynel Jael. Photo: Andrew Goff.

Candidate Raelina Krikston makes the Septentrio scene. Photo: Andrew Goff.

— Andrew Goff


UPDATE, 7:49 p.m.: Forget That Stuff About a Large Turnout, Which We Talk About Below

Election Manager Juan Pablo Cervantes sends along the following note:

I am terribly sorry. I misspoke. The amount reported in the first report will be ~8,000, with bigger reports throughout the night. We’re expecting to be at around the ~10,000 ballot range by the end of the night. We’ll see a bigger report by Friday that’ll put us ahead of where we were in the Primary. That amount received is still correct as of this morning.

That “amount received”: 24,264. That many ballots were in the office as of this morning, but apparently the first report will contain only 8,000 votes — a big dropoff from June.

— Hank Sims


UPDATE, 7:08 p.m.:

“Uncertainty is a really unfamiliar feeling for me. I’m used to having a pretty good idea of what’s next,” Kohl laughed. “It’s going to take aw hile to count the votes, and until then all of the possibilities are still rolling.”

This is the first time Kohl has run for local office. When asked about his time on the campaign trail, he said he really enjoyed meeting potential future constituents.

“I really liked canvassing, going door to door and meeting people in the Fifth Ward,” he said. “Going out for a couple of hours after work I got a really good idea of what’s impacting people. From homelessness to mental health to housing to people who are just really excited to be here.”

(If you hold your election party at your own restaurant you might instinctively find yourself clearing dishes.) Photo: Andrew Goff.

— Isabella Vanderheiden


UPDATE, 6:56 p.m.: Nicholas Kohl Serves Supporters at the Oberon

Public service. Photo: Andrew Goff.

As you might’ve guessed, Eureka City Council candidate Nicholas Kohl is awaiting election results with an intimate group of supporters in Oberon, the Old Town restaurant he’s owned for roughly a decade and a half.

Despite being the man of the hour, Kohl is nevertheless behind the bar mixing drinks for his guests but paused to give us his thoughts on the suspenseful evening ahead.

“I’m really nervous,” Kohl confessed, but he said he’s ultimately fine with either outcome.

Shish-Kohl-bobs! Photo: Andrew Goff.

— Andrew Goff


Flying the flag at the Jefferson School earlier today. Photo: Andrew Goff.

Election Night! Again! It’s the most wonderful night of the year!

We’re kicking things off early here on the LoCO Election Night Live Blog so’s as to get all this down in time to put some food in our bodies before the revelry begins.

You know the drill by now, right? LoCO staff will be fanning out over the various election night parties underway at various locations around the county, and we’ll be getting reactions and judging the catering choices as the results come in! The LoCOBot is — cross fingers — is going to automatically and instantly pull down the data from the Elections website in real time and print present it to you in somewhat less insane fashion. We’re gonna have a good time tonight!

All in all, it’s looking like a pretty good turnout kind of election, at least compared to June’s primary. Check out the hopping scene at the Jefferson School polling place earlier today.

Butts in booths! Photo: Andrew Goff.


What’s more, county elections manager Juan Pablo Cervantes tells the Outpost that the first Election Night report his office plans to release — the one that’ll contain all of the early-voting ballots received early enough for the Election Office to process before today — that first report is going to account for at least 20,997 ballots. That’s way, way up from the 12,197 ballots counted in June. 

So, like I said — given that jump, as well as the bustling activity at the polling sites we visited today — looking pretty good, turnout-wise!

So here’s how tonight will go. The first results — again, comprising those early, early voters — should go live sometime between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. Then there will be a series of reports released throughout the night. Probably the last of them will be released sometime after midnight.

But at the end of the night, remember, there will still be tens of thousands of votes left to count. These will be the vote-by-mail ballots and provisional ballots and conditional ballots that got into the office later than, say, yesterday. Those ballots will still need processing before they’re counted, and so things will take a while.

So if any races are close, it’s likely that we won’t know a winner in them for some time. But tonight, at least, we’ll know what the blowout races are. Remember that the famous “blue shift” — where late-counted votes tend to break toward the more progressive candidate — held up in June, after the pandemic, when we weren’t originally sure that would be the case. But it was. For example, Supervisor-elect Natalie Arroyo’s lead increased between the Election Night final report and the final final report.

(NOTE TO TINFOIL HATTERS: This is completely normal behavior, by the way. Check out this big exhaustive study of the matter we did a few years ago.)

Anyway — that’s it! If you haven’t voted yet, you have about two hours to do so. Here is your guide. Keep checking in! The fun starts …

… soon!