Latest vote count shows La Quinta voters rejecting vacation rental limits, Palm Springs District 1 race flipped

With tens of thousands of votes remaining to be counted in Riverside County, races are starting to both solidify and change.
Voters in La Quinta went to the polls to decide the fate of the short-term vacation rentals in their city.

While tens of thousands of ballots remain to be counted in Riverside County, some of the Coachella Valley’s results are starting to shift.

The latest results, released Wednesday evening, now show a measure to phase out short-term vacation rentals in La Quinta failing, and Palm Springs Mayor Pro Tem Grace Garner in the lead over her challenger in that city’s District 1.

The Riverside County Registrar of Voters had processed 100% of the ballots cast in county precincts by 2 a.m. the day after Election Day, but many vote-by-mail and provisional ballots remained uncounted. On Wednesday, the county reported 77,000 ballots still need to be processed.

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One of the valley’s most contentious issues, short-term vacation rentals (STVRs), was up for a referendum in La Quinta, where the latest vote tally showed 7,155 voters were choosing “no” on Measure A, while 7,029 voters were choosing “yes.” If approved, the measure would see the city begin to phase out permits for non-hosted STVRs.

In Palm Springs, the sole incumbent running for re-election, Mayor Pro Tem Grace Garner of District 1, had been gaining ground on her opponent, TV personality Scott Nevins, each day until the vote count stalled over the weekend. She picked up the momentum again Wednesday with a 106-vote swing and now leads Nevins, 1,400 to 1,350 (51% to 49%).

Also in Palm Springs, small business owner Jeffrey Bernstein and Palm Springs Pride President Ron deHarte hold comfortable margins over challengers in districts 2 and 3.

Coachella Mayor Steve Hernandez continues to hold a slim lead over challenger Denise Delgado, and incumbent City Councilmember Josie Gonzales still trails Stephanie Virgen and Frank Figueroa, who would each earn one of two open seats if the results hold.

In Indio, incumbent Elaine Holmes appears well on her way to retaining her seat. She still holds a roughly 200-vote margin over challenger Jonathan Matthew Becerra.

In Cathedral City, Mayor Ernesto Gutierrez is still well ahead of two challengers for the District 4 city council seat. In the only contested city council race in Desert Hot Springs, incumbent Jan Pye is well ahead of challenger Adam Sanchez, a former mayor, 59% to 41%.

As for the two College of the Desert (COD) Board of Trustees seats up for grabs, the districts are split, with one appearing to favor incumbent Rubén Pérez over former student board trustee Larissa Chavez Chaidez, 59% to 41%, and the other selecting former COD Superintendent and President Joel Kinnamon over incumbent Aurora Wilson, 54% to 46%.

Kinnamon and Pérez have publicly been at odds over the ongoing controversy of the COD Palm Springs campus. Kinnamon also financed Chavez Chaidez’s campaign but now may have to work with her opponent. 

Also in La Quinta, Mayor Linda Evans handily won re-election, garnering 72% of the vote. Incumbent City Councilmember John Peña also appears headed to victory, besting four challengers and holding 41% of the vote.

In California State Assembly races, the 47th District race is still leaning toward Current Palm Springs City Councilmember Christy Holstege. She has a has a roughly 1,200-vote lead over Republican Greg Wallis. Incumbent Democrat Eduardo Garcia in the 36th District has a 1,661-vote lead against his Republican opponent.  

Nationally, the newly formed 41st Congressional District, which has been the subject of national attention after it was redrawn to include much bluer portions of the county, has apparently gone to incumbent Republican Ken Calvert. At last count, he is besting Democratic challenger Will Rollins by roughly 6,300 votes. Democratic Rep. Raul Ruiz had no trouble beating Republican challenger Brian Hawkins in the 25th District .

More information: Track the Riverside County results for all races and propositions here.


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