Preliminary Election Results

Unofficial election results for the March 5 Primary show the three incumbents on the Orange County Board of Education far ahead of their opponents and the effort to recall two Orange Unified board trustees leading.

Preliminary Election Results

Editor’s Note: This article will be updated with new election results on a regular basis. For the latest election coverage, follow Spotlight Schools on Instagram.

Votes continue to be tallied in the March 5 Presidential Primary Election in Orange County. 

Preliminary election results show the three incumbents seeking to keep their seats on the Orange County Board of Education far ahead of their opponents. The unofficial results also show more voters were supporting the recall of two board members in the Orange Unified School District than opposing their removal.

In the race for the OCBE Trustee Area 1, Jorge Valdes had 58.70% of the vote and his challenger, Beatriz Mendoza, had 41.30%, according to an update posted at March 9 at 5:03 p.m. by the Orange County Registrar of Voters’ office

That same update showed Ken Williams, who was first elected to the OCBE in 1996, with 54.09% of the vote. His opponent Nancy Watkins had 45.91% of the vote in the race to represent Trustee Area 3.

Tim Shaw, the current representative of Trustee Area 4 on the OCBE, was also leading his opponent David Johnson by more than ten thousand votes. Shaw had 60.63% of the vote and Johnson had 39.37%.

Screenshot from the Orange County Registrar of Voters' office website.

In an opinion piece in The Orange County Register newspaper, Williams wrote about the election results this way: "Jorge Valdes, Tim Shaw, and myself  won this election based on these certain principles that Republicans and Democrats want for their children: parental school choice, the rights of parents to direct the upbringing of their children, and protecting the innocence of their children."

While the OCBE races are technically nonpartisan contests, the three incumbents were all backed by the Republican Party of Orange County. They also received tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from political action committees advocating for charter schools. The three challengers are all endorsed by the Democratic Party of Orange County and the California Teachers Association.

Meanwhile in the other election impacting education in Orange County, an effort to recall two board members in the Orange Unified School District looks like it will succeed. Voters in the school district are supporting the removal of conservative OUSD board of education members Madison Miner and Rick Ledesma. 

The update from the O.C. Registrar of Voters’ office issued March 9 showed the “yes” side with roughly 53% of the vote in both contests.

Screenshot from the Orange County Registrar of Voters' office website.

Backers of the recall cite the board majority's firing of the former OUSD superintendent as the impetus for their effort. In an Instagram story from March 9, the pro-recall campaign wrote, "The ROV is still counting ballots. We have NOT won, yet. Please be patient while the remaining ballots are counted."

According to campaign filing records, the pro-recall campaign was supported through small donations from individuals, including current OUSD teachers, and a $5,000 donation from State Senator Josh Newman, a Democrat who himself was recalled in 2018. The campaign against the recall has received contributions from individuals, including $2,000 from Ledesma himself, and more than $40,000 from the Lincoln Club of Orange County.

Ballots are still being tallied and the counting could last for several days as vote-by-mail ballots arrive in the mail. March 12 is the deadline for vote-by-mail ballots that were postmarked before or on March 5 to arrive at the O.C. Registrar of Voters' office. The election results must be certified by April 2.

As of March 9, 566,157 ballots had been counted. The ROV indicates that there are more than 1.8 million registered voters in Orange County. 

We’ll continue to update this story as more election results are released.

🗳️ Wondering the status of your ballot? You can track it here.

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