Three Lake Elsinore candidates, but only two places at the table.
Lake Elsinore City Councilwoman Melissa Melendez (R) and Assemblyman Kevin Jeffries (R-Lake Elsinore) will be on the November ballot.
Lake Elsinore City Councilman Bob Magee (R) will not.
In a very close primary election Tuesday, Melendez beat out Magee, Ken Dickson (R) and William T. Akana (R) in the 67th State Assembly District race with 7,851 votes or 23.30 percent. She now heads to the November general election alongside Phil Paule who claimed the most votes Tuesday in the 67th District race with 9,438 or 28.01 percent. Paule is a French Valley resident and a Republican aide to Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista).
In the Riverside County 1st Supervisorial District contest, Jeffries squeaked by Mike Soubirous to claim a spot in the November election against Tuesday's frontrunner, incumbent Bob Buster.
In nonpartisan races, such as county supervisor, a candidate must capture a majority of all votes cast in order to claim outright victory in the primary, otherwise the top two vote-getters head off in the general election.
Buster claimed 12,689 votes or 38.73 percent; Jeffries grabbed 10,243 votes or 31.26 percent, while Soubirous captured 9,831 or 30.01 percent.
Camped out at their respective campaign headquarters Tuesday, the Lake Elsinore 67th District candidates were tense as the numbers trickled in. Melendez and Magee had been neck and neck much of the evening, but at 11 p.m. -- with 45.56 percent of precincts reporting -- Melendez began pulling ahead.
Headquartered at My Buddies Pizza in Lake Elsinore Tuesday night, Melendez was surrounded by supporters, her husband Nico and their five children.
“The kids get to see their mom run for state office,” Nico said proudly, as their oldest son poured over returns on the Riverside County Registrar of Voters website.
The candidate thanked her supporters and told Patch she was confident she was going to land the Number 2 slot behind Paule Tuesday.
“This is what I expected,” she said, explaining that Paule's ties to Issa gave him a fundraising advantage over the other candidates.
After her victory, Melendez said, "I want to thank the many supporters of my campaign who helped us achieve an important victory in this election. We share a vision that California can once again become a desirable place to raise a family and start a business."
Over at The Diamond – where Magee and Jeffries camped out together Tuesday night – there was a long list of supporters on hand watching the returns come in.
Despite a strong outpouring from city leaders, business people and residents, Magee said the tight race was nerve wracking.
“It’s so close,” he said of the early returns.
The candidate said he had been knocking on doors every weekend since February – except Easter weekend – and was out in neighborhoods every night after work since April. His elderly parents even walked with him in Sun City, he said.
Despite the long hours and dedication, however, Magee fell short by 1,127 votes behind Melendez.
The race for the 1st District Supervisor was also a cliffhanger, with Jeffries and Soubirous duking it out.
“I would like to see a little more room,” Jeffries said of the early slim margin between he and Soubirous.
In another closely watched race Tuesday night, Wildomar resident Dr. Eva Johnson (R) fell to defeat in her bid for a shot at the 42nd Congressional District seat. In that contest incumbent Ken Calvert (R-Hemet) held a strong lead throughout the night and finished with 27,284 votes or 50.96 percent. In November, he will square off against Michael Williamson (D), who grabbed 7,826 votes at 14.62 percent Tuesday.
The primary victors will now move on to the general election on November 6.
Tuesday also saw voters turn down Prop. 29, which if passed would have increased cigarette tax. Voters said yes to Prop. 28, which calls for shorter term limits for state legislators.
To see all the results, including the other candidate contests, visit the Riverside County Registrar of Voters website at www.voteinfo.net.
To learn more about the “top two” primary election process,