More than 150,000 votes remain to be counted, but Riverside County Mike Hestrin would avoid a runoff and win a new four-year term if results posted Wednesday morning, June 8, hold.
Results published on the registrar of voters’ website showed Hestrin with 53% of the vote, followed by Superior Court Judge Burke Strunsky with 23.57% and appellate attorney Lara Gressley with 23.41%.
Hestrin avoids a November runoff if he ends up with 50% plus one of the total vote. Otherwise, he’d compete in the general election with whoever finishes second, assuming he holds on to the top spot.
About 150,000 vote-by-mail ballots and 2,000 provisional ballots remained to be counted entering Wednesday evening. Also, mail-in ballots postmarked on or before Election Day and received by Tuesday, June 14, must be counted.
In an emailed statement, Hestrin said: “We’re optimistic at this point but look forward to final results later today or whenever they come.”
He added: “This process is a long one. I remain honored to serve as district attorney and l very much hope to be able to continue to work every day to protect the families of Riverside County.”
Asked to comment, Strunsky texted a photo of the registrar’s website showing the votes remaining to be counted.
“I am waiting to see these results,” he wrote.
Gressley thanked her supporters.
“No matter what unfolds as the remaining ballots are counted, I know I was called to speak out against the injustices I have witnessed,” she said via text.
“I also believe I was called to bring awareness to the conflict of interest that occurs when police unions and partisan politics get involved in our criminal justice system leadership … I will continue to use my voice and speak the truth.”
Hestrin, who was first elected in 2014, brought a tough-on-crime message to the campaign trail as emphasized his work to keep America’s 10th most-populated county safe and took aim at the progressive prosecutor model championed by criminal justice reformists.
He tried tying Strunsky, a former prosecutor, to liberal philanthropist George Soros. Strunsky strongly rejected any links to Soros and said Hestrin failed to protect the public while allowing his office to become bloated and inefficient.
Gressley, who lost to Hestrin in 2018, said the incumbent prized a “win at all costs” mentality over true justice.