Ibarra Victory In SB’s Second Ward Now Appears To Be Solid

With only her performance in office and determination to rely upon, Second Ward San Bernardino Councilwoman Sandra Ibarra, it now appears certain, has overcome long odds to achieve a comeback reelection victory.
A community activist first elected to the council in 2018, Ibarra was initially embraced by what passed as San Bernardino’s political establishment. By the end of Summer 2019, however, she had broken ranks with San Bernardino Mayor John Valdivia and his political machine, which had been counting upon her to back his agenda advancing the interests of his political donors who endowed his political war chest with over $600,000.
Ibarra’s resistance to the pay-to-play ethos that surrounded the mayor earned for her not only Valdivia’s enmity, but that of scores of wealthy interests, including developers Jeff Burum, Scott Beard, Jim Previti and David Wiener.Ibarra’s iconoclasm and intrepid demonstrations of independence rubbed many other powerful entities the wrong way, as when she expressed the view that the San Bernardino Police Department was top heavy, with too much brass in the form of lieutenants, captains and top echelon deputy chiefs and too few officers on patrol and working investigative beats. This was exacerbated in the aftermath of the riots that took place in San Bernardino on the night/early morning of May 31/June 1, 2020 when the protests following the Mineapolis, Minnesota Police Department’s murder of George Floyd turned violent and multiple stores along the Highland Avenue business corridor, a portion of which lies within the Second Ward, were looted. Several business owners were critical of the San Bernardino Police Department’s decision not to confront the rioters and stem the looting as it was occurring. When Ibarra at a council meeting made public reference of those store owners’ concerns, the police department took that as a personal affront, and publicly condemned her in an open public letter.
When no one in the Second Ward emerged to oppose Ibarra in this year’s election, higher-ups in the police department as well as members of the San Bernardino Police Officers Association prevailed upon Terrance Elliott, a local pastor and one of the department’s chaplains, to run against her. Members of the department arranged for Elliott, who actually lived in the city’s Seventh Ward, to find living quarters in the Second Ward and arranged to pay his rent or otherwise defray that cost so he could register to vote there and qualify his council candidacy.
The San Bernardino Police Officers Association endorsed Elliott. Donations in excess of $35,000, most from those who were established supporters of Mayor Valdivia and the police union poured into Elliott’s campaign war chest. In addition, another independent expenditure committee calling itself the Committee for Ethical Government to Support Elliott and Oppose Ibarra for City Council 2022 took in a separate $22,100 by May 27. That money was used to send out mailers attacking Ibarra.
Ibarra, who ran a grassroots campaign, had spent through May 27 $1,352.99 since the beginning of the year, primarily on signs and her filing fee for her candidacy.
Ibarra appeared doomed.
Shortly after the polls closed on Tuesday night, June 7, the San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters released its first results, consisting of the mail ballots that had come in up to that point.
Of the ward’s 13,263 voters, 670 had sent in mail ballots early enough to arrive before the polls had closed on election day. Elliott was off to a slim nine-vote lead, as he claimed 336 votes or 50.15 percent to Ibarra’s 327 votes or 48.81 percent. Another seven votes or 1.04 percent in the form of write-ins went to Alissa Payne.
At 10 p.m. on election night, with ten of Ward Two’s 17 precincts’ votes counted, Ibarra logged another 30 votes while Elliott claimed 26. Elliot led by five votes, 362-to-357.
Two hours later, at midnight, one further precinct reported where 65 votes were cast, 28 for Ibarra and 36 for Elliott. Elliott led 398 votes or 50.19 percent to Ibarra’s 385 votes or 48.55 percent.
Two hours later, as of 2 a.m. on June 8, no further precincts had reported but three more votes for Elliott were recorded. He was ahead at that point 401 of 796 votes cast, or 50.38 percent to Ibarra’s 385 votes or 48.37 percent.
At 4 a.m. June 8, the results from the final six precincts were tallied and reported, showing that just one vote had been cast at the half dozen precincts, that single vote being for Ibarra. That pushed her combined number of 327 mail ballot votes and 59 polling place votes to 386 total votes or 48.43 percent, while Elliott held a majority of the 797 votes cast with 401 or 50.31 percent.
At 4 p.m. on June 8, the tally was updated with incoming mail ballots received and counted. Ibarra received 20 more mail-in votes and Elliott 14. Thus, Elliott remained in front, with 415 of the 831 votes cast or 49.94 percent, with Ibarra trailing by nine with 406 votes or 48.86 percent.
The update that followed 24 hours later at 4 p.m. on Thursday June 9, showed Ibarra picked up 25 more votes from incoming mail-in ballots, pushing her vote total to 431 while Elliott picked up 13 votes, which meant that he had suffered a deficit relative to Ibarra of 12, which dropped him into second place by three votes. At that point, Ibarra was ahead, 431 votes or 49.65 percent to Elliott’s 428 or 49.31 percent. Two more write-in votes received at the polls were declared to have been for Payne, giving her a total of nine votes. The other write-in vote that had been cast at one of the precincts was disregarded.
From that point on, Ibarra has remained ahead in the race, though at that time, she did not have a majority of the vote, which is required for outright victory. Under San Bernardino’s charter, if a candidate does not capture a majority of the vote in the primary race, he or she must face the second-place candidate in a November run-off.
On Friday, June 10, the mail-in votes that had come in since the previous day – 90 for Ibarra, 90 for Elliott and two write-ins for Payne – were counted. At that point, Ibarra was leading, with 521 or 49.62 percent of the 1,050 total votes cast in the Second Ward, with Elliott nipping at her heels with 518 votes or 49.33 percent.
The next update came on Monday June 13 at 6 p.m., at which point 215 votes poured in for Ibarra, giving her 736 votes while Elliott added 173 votes to his total, bringing him to 626 votes. Payne claimed four further write-in votes, such that she had 13 votes. For the first time, Ibarra eclipsed 50 percent, with 51.11 percent. Elliott stood at 47.99 percent. Payne claimed 0.9 percent.
The next day, Tuesday June 14, at 11 a.m., another count was made. Elliott picked up 13 votes, Ibarra 11 votes and Payne none. Ibarra led with 747 or 51.02 percent.
On June 16 a few more straggling mail-in votes were counted, with six of those going to Elliott and 19 registering for Ibarra. Ibarra was on top, with 766 or 51.44 percent to Elliott’s 710 votes or 47.88 percent.
With the next update on Thursday June 23, 2022, Elliott gained 17 votes, bringing him to 727 votes or 47.61 percent as Ibarra increased her total by 21 votes to 787, putting her at 51.54 percent.
Yesterday, June 30, the last tally before the election is to be certified later this month, six more votes came in for Elliott while seven came in for Ibarra and one for Payne.
Thus, as of today, Ibarra is on a trajectory to win the race, with 794 votes or 51.52 percent to Elliott’s 733 votes or 47.57 percent.
–Mark Gutglueck

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