Reversal As Coordinated Attack Ads Blast Armendarez Past Cetina

Five months after Luis Cetina bested four rival candidates in the preliminary polling to determine who will succeed Janice Rutherford as San Bernardino County’s Second District supervisor, former Fontana City Councilman Jesse Armendarez overcame the 2.5 percent lead of his rival to prevail in the balloting that counted this week.
Cetina, a member of the Cucamonga Valley Water District’s board of directors, had the advantage of Rutherford’s endorsement going into the June 7 Primary, in which he, Armendarez, Dejonae Shaw, Nadia Renner and Eric Coker were competing. In that contest, Cetina captured 16,532 votes for 33.01 percent of the total 50,082 cast, more than 1,400 over Armendarez’s 15,280 or 30.51 percent, Shaw’s showing of 10,616 votes or 21.2 percent, Coker’s 3,440 or 8.05 percent and Renner’s 3,624 votes or 7.24 percent.
Because no single candidate captured a majority of the primary vote, a run-off was held between the two top finishers. Both Armendarez and Cetina are Republicans, and both vied for the Republican Central Committee’s endorsement. Armendarez enjoyed an advantage in that regard, as he has long been aligned with Republican Central Committee Chairman Phil Cothran. Thus, the fall campaign began in earnest with Armendarez enjoying the solid backing of his party.
This electoral season, those in Armendarez’s camp, including Cothran and Jeff Burum, used the independent expenditure committees at their disposal to send out attack mailers that targeted Cetina. Those attacks intensified in September, and it took an adjustment on the part of those supporting Cetina to respond in kind. When an independent expenditure committee backing Cetina headed by Paul Hofer got into gear in October, those supporting Armendarez redoubled their efforts, making a two-pronged attack on Cetina and Hofer in further attack ads in the closing weeks of the campaign sent to high propensity voters in District 2, which covers all of Fontana, Rancho Cucamonga, northern Upland, San Antonio Heights, Mount Baldy and Lytle Creek.
As of today, November 11 at 4 p.m., Armendarez had what appeared to be an insurmountable lead, with 27,114 votes or 54.03 percent to Cetina’s 22,991 votes or 45.82 percent.

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