Dustin Trotter

SANTEE RECOUNT ENDS, HURST CONCEDES TO TROTTER

By Miriam Raftery; Michael Allen also contributed to this story

Photos by Erik Herrara

December 15, 2020 (Santee) – Yesterday’s recount in the Santee District 4 City Council race took place at the Registrar of Voters.  Each candidate picked up one additional vote from ballots that were not previously opened or counted, but it didn’t change the outcome. Dustin Trotter officially has 3,920 votes – a mere five vote margin over Samm Hurst, with 3,915.

The San Diego County Democratic Party agreed to terminate the recount after only minimal changes in the vote count once untallied ballots were examined. 

According to Assistant Registrar of Voters Cynthia Paes, a little over 1,000 ballots were recounted, out of around 8,000 cast in district 4.  The full-day recount involved about 25 staffers. Both sides challenged ballots; out of nine that were uncounted and unopened, and after adjudication by Registrar Michael Vu, three were opened and counted.  Besides one vote found for each candidate, a third untallied ballot was opened and found to have neither candidate marked in the Santee Council race.

SANTEE COUNCIL DISTRICT 4 GOES TO RECOUNT, ALSO SEEKS EXAMINATION OF UNCOUNTED BALLOTS

By Mike Allen

Photos: Samm Hurst and Dustin Trotter

December 8, 2020 (Santee) -- With only five votes separating winner Dustin Trotter and Samm Hurst in Santee’s City Council District 4 race, a recount of the nearly 8,000 votes cast has been requested.

The San Diego Democratic Party has requested the recount in a letter sent to Registrar of Voters Michael Vu yesterday, one day before the deadline. Hurst, a UCSD professor, is a registered Democrat.

Will Rodriguez Kennedy, party chair, signed the letter which states that given the closeness of the vote, “I believe a thorough recount could affect the outcome.”

He said the process should involve not only the nearly 8,000 ballots cast, but the ballots that were not counted, including unopened and rejected mail-in ballots, as well as provisional ballots.

ANDERSON WIDENS LEAD, SANTEE COUNCIL RACE STILL CLOSE

By Miriam Raftery

November 16, 2020 (San Diego's East County) - With the latest update from the Registrar of Voters, former State Senator Joel Anderson has increased his lead over Poway Mayor Steve Vaus in the second supervisorial district to 259 votes, out of nearly 290,000 votes cast.  Anderson has 50.04% and Vaus 49.96%, a difference of less than one-tenth of one percent.  But with only 10,000 ballots remaining to be counted countywide, with perhaps only around 2,000 ballots per supervisorial district, hopes of Vaus to regain the lead are rapidly diminishing.

Both Anderson and Vaus are Republicans, though Anderson was endorsed by the County Republican Party. Vaus won endorsement of Dianne Jacob, who is retiring as Supervisor after over 25 years due to term limits. If Anderson's lead holds, he may well owe his election to party slate mailers backing his candidacy. Both candidates were well funded and blitzed votes with a barrage of mailers of their own, some touting their experience and issue positions, others focused on negative messaging regarding their opponents.

The open city council seat in Santee is even closer, with only five votes separating the two candidates. Dustin Trotter, a contractor, leads Samantha Hurst, a research and teacher, by 3,911 to 3,906 votes. Should the race end in a tie, state law would require that it be decided by random draw. 

UPDATES ON CLOSE RACES

November 13, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- As of the Thursday night updates posted by the county Registrar of Voters, East County has several tight races.  The closest is in Santee, where city council candidates Dustin Trotter and Samantha Hurst are separated by just four votes, with Trotter taking the lead after the two were actually tied earlier in the week.

Hurst, a UCSD researcher and instructor, opposes the controversial Fanita Ranch development and supports racial tolerance.  Trotter is a building contractor who has drawn controversy over his involvement with Defend East County, a group recently banned from Facebook, and Working Class Patriot, a group that advocated for people to “pray for peace and prepare for war” on Election Day.

HOW ARE TIES OR CLOSE LOCAL RACES RESOLVED?

By Miriam Raftery

November 11, 2020 (San Diego) – With Santee’s City Council candidates separated by just two votes and Supervisor candidates Joel Anderson and Steve Vaus just seven votes apart, readers have been asking questions.  What happens if there is a tie in a local election?  (One on social media suggested determining the winner via a duel.)

Does a close race trigger a recount?  Have any local races changed when a recount was done? When will the counting be done?

ECM reached out to San Diego Registrar of Voters Michael Vu to get answers to these and other questions.

ANDERSON TAKES RAZOR-THIN LEAD OVER VAUS IN SUPERVISOR RACE; SANTEE COUNCIL CANDIDATES ALSO IN NEAR TIE

Update November 22, 2020:  Joel Anderson now leads by 284 votes over Steve Vaus, with 7,500 ballots left to be tallied countywide.  In Santee, Dustin Trotter is ahead by just seven votes over Samantha Hurst.

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 11, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – With 33,000 votes countywide remaining to be tallied, but far fewer ballots left in individual races, the latest update from the San Diego County Registrar of Voters shows several major contests in East County are still too close to call.

In the important race to fill retiring Supervisor Dianne Jacob’ district 2 seat, former State Senator Joel Anderson has taken a scant seven-vote lead over Poway Mayor Steve Vaus. 

Santee’s City Council race to fill an open seat, meanwhile, has Samantha “Samm” Hurst retaking the lead over Dustin Trotter by just two votes after being tied just one day earlier.

SANTEE MAYORAL AND COUNCIL RACES SHOW CLEAR CHOICES

By Mike Allen

Photo:  Santee Mayor John Minto, mayoral candidate and Councilman Stephen Houlahan, City Council candidates Samm Hurst and Dustin Trotter,

October 14, 2020 (Santee) -- The conflict between slow-growth proponents and those who support the continued expansion of Santee has been going on for decades but is crystallized in this election.

SANTEE COUNCIL AND MAYORAL CANDIDATES FORUM SET FOR SEPT. 10

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left to right: Mayor John Minto and challenger Stephen Houlahan; City Council candidates Samm Hurst and Dustin Trotter

September 5, 2020 (Santee) – East County Magazine will host a forum on Thursday, Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. for candidates running for Santee Mayoral and City Council races. To date, Mayor John Minto and mayoral challenger Stephen Houlahan have both agreed to participate.  In the race for an open City Council seat, Samm Hurst has confirmed she will participate; Dustin Trotter said he had a scheduling conflict for the forum. All candidates in both races have also now done separate interviews with ECM reporter Mike Allen, which will be posted soon.

The forum will be virtual on Zoom. You can watch the livestream at https://www.Facebook.com/eastcountymagazine and send questions to editor@eastcountymagazine.org. A videotape of the forum will be posted later on www.EastCountyMagazine.org and the forum will also be broadcast at a later date on KNSJ radio.

East County Magazine thanks the #FacebookJournalismProject for a grant to help support our virtual candidate forums during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Below are details on the candidates (listed in alphabetical order for each seat) and key issues:

SANTEE ADOPTS DISTRICT ELECTIONS WITH MINTO-MADE MAP

 

By Mike Allen

 View full-size map B adopted by Council here.

 April 14, 2018 (Santee) -- Santee’s ongoing process of shifting from voting for their representatives by all city voters to a system of district elections took another step to reality last week when the council adopted a map made by Mayor John Minto and held the first reading instituting the change.

 Minto offered a map he drew that divides the city into four areas and with a close balance of some 13,000 people in each district. His motion also called for a change in the cycle of elections that results in two council seats being elected every four years starting in 2020. The mayor’s position will remain at large, or selected by all city voters.

 His motion, which was seconded by Councilman Ronn Hall, passed 3-2 with Council members Brian Jones and Rob McNelis opposed. The second reading and adoption of the law and the map is scheduled for April 25.

SANTEE TO REMAIN ONLY EAST COUNTY CITY TO ALLOW SMOKING IN PUBLIC PARKS; COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS BAN FOR HIKING TRAILS

 

By Paul Kruze

Hear audio of meeting: http://www.mediafire.com/file/bo4c5wwv6k6tmcb/SanteeSPARC12142017Meeting.mp3

 

December 21, 2017 (Santee) -- Cigarette smokers in our region may end up with one less place to smoke if the Santee City Council approves a recommendation of the Santee Park and Recreation Committee (SPARC) to ban smoking on its numerous hiking trails located within the city limits. Smoking would still be allowed in public parks, leaving Santee the last city in San Diego County to still allow smoking in public parks, although the city does restrict smoking to designated areas during special events.

Smoking marijuana, however, will remain prohibited in Santee parks, although the state is set to decriminalize use on January 1 after voters passed Proposition 64 legalizing the public recreational use and commercial purchase of marijuana.

OUT OF TOWN MONEY FLOWS TO SANTEE COUNCIL CANDIDATE

 

East County News Service

Photos, left to right: Stephen Houlahan, Mason Herron, and Dustin Trotter

November 7, 2016 (Santee) — Santee City Council candidate Mason Herron has raked in $58, 246 in campaign contributions from 131 individuals, of whom only 6 live in Santee, including himself.  That’s 95% of donations coming from outside Santee.