SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Longtime incumbent Bruce Gibson has won the San Luis Obispo County District 2 Supervisor race over challenger Bruce Jones by just 13 votes.
Workers at the elections office resumed counting at 9 a.m. Wednesday morning, beginning the last round of counting before the the election is required by the state to certified by Thursday.
Nearly 10,000 votes were counted during the day, including vote by mail ballots and provisional ballots from polling places.
Early in the afternoon, the Clerk-Recorder Office officially certified the election and posted the results online, which showed Gibson with 11,722 votes (50.03%) and Jones with 11,709 (49.97%).
Gibson was out-of-town Wednesday, serving the county as he attended a conference in the Bay Area.
In a written response to News Channel regarding the final outcome, Gibson said, "I'm thrilled with the result and grateful for the trust that the voters have placed in me. They chose good government and accountability and I will work hard on the challenging issues we have ahead. I’m excited for next year, working with my colleagues, our staff and our community to move SLO County forward. We have a wonderful community, and I look forward to getting things done that will benefit everyone. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart."
A voicemail and text message left for Jones have been unreturned as of Wednesday evening.
The razor-thin margin suggests a recount may be requested for the important race.
According to San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder Elaina Cano, any registered voter in California may request a recount by 5 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 12.
Anyone who requests a recount will be responsible for all of the costs required for the labor-intensive process.
A recount was conducted this past June in the District 4 Supervisor race between incumbent Lynn Compton and challenger Jimmy Paulding.
After a five-week long recount, the final result was the same as the official certified count, Paulding defeating Compton by 639 votes.
Darcia Stebbens, a registered voter from outside San Luis Obispo County, filed the recount request and paid $60,000 according to Cano.
Cano said if someone requests a recount for the District 2 race or any of other countywide races, the total amount would exceed the one in June.
"We don't have a whole lot of space here," said Cano. "I am anticipating we will have many more recount boards, which would mean I would have to relocate our operations to off-site, which would mean we would be able to have more recount boards, but the cost of the recount would certainly significantly go up because we will have to rent facilities, have 24-hour security, surveillance, transportation, staffing and, of course, our recount boards."
If a recount request is made, Cano would have seven days to begin the process.
The outcome of the race determines the majority for the Board of Supervisors, which is officially a non-partisan office.
Currently, there are two Republican board members, John Peschong (District 1) and Debbie Arnold (District 5). Two others are Democrat, Dawn Ortiz-Legg (District 3) and Jimmy Paulding (District 4), who will take office in January after defeating Lynn Compton in June.
That leaves the District 2 race as the swing vote on the new-look board. Gibson, a Democrat, has held the District 2 seat over four terms while Jones, a Republican, was looking to unseat Gibson after a 16-year run.
As required by the California Secretary of State, San Luis Obispo County must certify the Nov. 8 election by Thursday, Dec. 9, 2023.