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Heather Moreno continues to lead Susan Funk in close race for SLO County Fifth District Supervisor

SLO County District 5 Supervisor race
Susan Funk (left) and Heather Moreno (right) are running for San Luis Obispo County Fifth District Supervisor. (Photos are courtesy of each candidate)

ATASCADERO, Calif. – The race for San Luis Obispo County Fifth District Supervisor has widened after a razor thin margin separated the candidates after the first election numbers were released.

As of the most recent update from San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder's Office at 12:21 a.m., Atascadero Mayor Heather Moreno led Atascadero Mayor Pro Tem Susan Funk by 670 votes.

The margin will remain the same for at least the next couple of days since ballot counting will not resume until Friday at the earliest.

"Today we are starting going through the process of reviewing and scanning all of our rosters that the voters who went and voted at the polls," said San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder Elaina Cano. "They signed their rosters, and so we need to give those voters credit for voting., and then once that process is done, then we can pick right back up with the processing of all the vote by mail ballots that we received on Election Day in our drop boxes and at the mail."

With thousands of ballots still needing to be counted, the outcome of the race is far from over.

"It is still very much undecided with so many ballots still remaining to be processed and counted," said Cano. "There's no telling how the end result will come. We're going to work as hard and as fast as we possibly can in in order to be able to certify. I do have 30 days to do that. It would be nice to be able to certify sooner and but it's it's all about accuracy and not speed."

Both candidates reiterated on Wednesday morning earlier comments they each stated on Tuesday, that the final winner will not be known for quite some time.

"There are a lot of votes yet to be counted," said Funk on Wednesday morning. "That's the bottom line of it. This is a tight election. We know that that different groups of people will vote at different times, and so things will shift a bit. We expect that and we. Every single vote counts the same, so we just got to wait for them to be tally and see what the results are."

Moreno was traveling on Wednesday and provided News Channel with a statement regarding the status of the race, which read, "I am deeply grateful to everyone who voted for me, supported my candidacy, and actively participated in our campaign. If current trends persist, I eagerly anticipate the opportunity to serve our entire county on the Board of Supervisors starting in January. I am dedicated to making a meaningful, positive impact on our community."

When the first round of numbers were released by the Clerk-Recorder's Office at 8:01 p.m., only 25 votes separated the two candidates.

Less than two hours later at 9:45 p.m., the Moreno lead was trimmed to just 17 votes.

However, when the latest numbers were released a few minutes before midnight, Moreno enjoyed a major push into the lead, expanding the margin over Moreno by several hundred votes with 22 of 25 precincts reported.

The last report includes 8,510 votes counted and shows Moreno with 4,586 votes, while Funk has 3,916. Moreno currently holds at nearly 8% lead over Funk, with the currently margin 53.89% to 46.02%.

Still, there are many more votes that remain to be counted, so the final outcome of this race is still very much in the air.

When News Channel spoke with both candidates are their election night viewing parties in Atascadero, each acknowledged the winning candidate will not be determined for quite some time.

"It's the very beginning of something that will unfold over the next couple of weeks," said Moreno. "So really, we just need to be patient and optimistic."

"We all have to chill a little bit and be patient with the process," said Funk. "Democracy is not a speeding contest, but we got to do it right and count the votes right."

With the numbers so tight after the first two reports were released, it indicated this race could be shaping up to follow similar narrow races for supervisor in San Luis Obispo County.

In 2018, during the race for District 4 Supervisor, incumbent Lynn Compton defeated Jimmy Paulding by 60 votes. Paulding later defeated Compton in a 2022 rematch by more than 600 votes.

In 2022, the race for District 2 Supervisor was even closer, with incumbent Bruce Gibson defeating Bruce Jones by a mere 13 votes.

The two candidates are vying to succeed Debbie Arnold, who has served as Fifth District Supervisor since 2012, but decided to not to seek re-election and run for a potential fourth team on the Board of Supervisors.

Article Topic Follows: Primary Election
Primary Election

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Dave Alley

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