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Danon, Roberts to face off in November

COAST CITIES — With no candidate receiving more than 50 percent of the vote in the June 5 primary election, Steve Danon and Dave Roberts will face off in November for the District 3 seat on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. 

Danon, 46, is the chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Brian Bilbray. He received 22,962 votes, or about 32.8 percent.

Roberts, 51, is a Solana Beach City Councilman who works for a nonprofit organization focused on providing global leadership for the optimal use of information technology and management systems for health care.

He garnered 22,062 votes, or 31.5 percent.

With 14,141 votes, Del Mar Mayor Carl Hilliard came in third. Combined, Bryan Ziegler and Stephen Pate received slightly more than 15 percent of the votes.

Danon said his top priorities for the county are eliminating red tape and unnecessary regulations to create economic opportunities, reforming public employee pensions and establishing a regional ethics commission.

He said he would like to create a private sector retirement system for supervisors and nonpublic safety personnel, abolish a $12,000 annual car allowance for supervisors that is added to their salary for pension benefits and eliminate a $5 million grant program that allows supervisors to fund projects in their districts.

Roberts campaigned to end perks for politicians such as car allowances, build private/public partnerships to attract businesses to the region and foster sustainable business practices.

He also wants to revise the county’s regulatory process to help entrepreneurs expand and grow their businesses.

“We are just thrilled with the results,” Roberts said. “Nobody thought that we’d do so well. I never thought we’d be neck and neck.”

In an interview with National Public Radio, Danon said he expected to finish the race in a “distant second.”

Danon began his campaign in 2009, seeking to defeat Pam Slater-Price, who has held the District 3 seat for nearly 20 years. She announced last September she would not seek re-election.

Roberts entered the race in January. “In just five months I think we began to resonate with people, who appreciate not only my professional life, but my personal life story as well. They see that I care about quality of life issues and sensible growth, but also about the arts, culture and the environment.”

Danon is a Republican and Roberts is a Democrat. The race is nonpartisan, but with Hilliard, also a Republican, getting more than 20 percent of the vote, it would appear Danon has the edge.

Roberts disagrees. During the NPR interview he said many of Hilliard’s supporters were voting against Danon. He also said historically in San Diego, the candidate who comes in second in the primary wins the general election.

The 3rd District is made up of North County jurisdictions such as Del Mar, Solana Beach and Encinitas, as well as several areas in the city of San Diego, including Carmel Valley.

“I’m really excited about the opportunities for November,” Roberts said. “It’s going to be an interesting and competitive race.”