Originally published November 7, 2012 at 5:35 a.m., updated November 7, 2012 at 3:09 p.m.
Dave Roberts, Supervisor-elect, District 3
Dave Roberts appears to have defeated Steve Danon in a tight race to fill the San Diego County Board of Supervisors seat vacated by Pam Slater-Price.
With all precincts reporting, Roberts -- the Democratic deputy mayor of Solana Beach -- had 50.7 percent of the vote, compared to 49.3 for Republican Danon.
Only about 1,900 votes separated the two, and 475,000 absentee ballots remained to be tallied.
If his lead holds, Roberts will become the first new supervisor in San Diego County since 1995 and the body's lone Democrat. The five current supervisors are all white, Republican and SDSU alumni.
But Roberts told KPBS he isn't nervous about joining the entrenched board because it's nonpartisan.
"I've got a history of working across the party lines and I think that we're all going to be looking at each other," he said. "I really am a new leader coming onto the board because of term limits, all the supervisors will be turning over."
"I really bring that new day to the board, that new leadership that people were looking for," he added.
Although Slater-Price is a Republican, she crossed party lines and endorsed Roberts as her successor. The North County district still favors Republicans in voter registration, according to the latest report by the San Diego County Registrar's Office.
The district encompasses Del Mar, Encinitas, Escondido, Solana Beach and the several northern neighborhoods of San Diego, combining a diverse mix of voters.
"I know the district really well, I know the people really well," Roberts said.
He said during his campaign, he reached out to and included a range of voices. Roberts plans to bring diversity to the county governing board in the appointments he makes, and through his own personal background. He is a gay married man with five foster children.
"I really believe I can represent the working families out there," he said. "I understand how you have to balance work and family life."
Danon and Roberts traded barbs when they faced off during a KPBS debate in October.
Roberts said he has worked in the private industry for the majority of his career, and said Danon had only been in the private sector for 33 months.
“Who would you trust with a $5 billion budget and managing 15,000 employees?” he asked. “I’ve got that financial background.”
Danon countered that he founded his own business and said Roberts’ private sector experience was as a lobbyist on health care in Washington D.C.
Another moment of hostility came when the candidates were asked, “if the state budget is cut, how will you fund local social programs?”
Roberts responded: “The county has a AAA bond rating, and they have that for a reason, through strong financial management. I’m going to continue that strong financial management, but I’ll look at every program and ensure that we do focus on core services.”
Then it was Danon’s turn: “There’s a reason why people are so disgusted with politics, and that’s because people do not answer the question. I’m going to answer it. Yes, we need to look at it.”
He said one in six San Diego County families are living below the poverty line.
Danon finished 3 percentage points ahead of Roberts in the June primary.
Claire Trageser and City News Service contributed to the information in this report.