With more than 49,000 ballots still to be counted, the president of the Riverside County Deputy District Attorney Association is still hopeful that judicial challenger John Henry can pull off a victory.
Henry, a prosecutor, was challenging Riverside County Superior Court Judge Craig Riemer. The unofficial tally has Riemer with 51.26 percent and Henry with 48.74 percent.
Riemer maintained the lead with each posting of new results. There are 4,004 votes between them.
“It’s very close. … One can only hope,” said John Aki, president of the district attorney union. “Our whole point was that we wanted to raise awareness in the community about these activist judges. I think we were successful in that.”
The Henry-Riemer showdown was the most closely-watched judicial contest on Tuesday’s ballot. Three other judges also retained their seats.
The Riverside County Deputy District Attorney Association spent more than $100,000 on Henry’s campaign. They also backed challenger Richard Nixon, who failed to unseat Judge Gary Tranbarger.
Henry told The Desert Sun that he hadn’t contacted Riemer yet, but planned to call him “to congratulate him and let that be that.”
“I understand that the incumbency is always a difficult thing to overcome,” Henry said. “I thought we did a good job in trying to get our message out to voters. Obviously, we missed about 4,000 of them.”
The Riverside County Registrar will post more results Friday evening.
Officials have to process about 38,000 remaining vote-by-mail and 7,000 provisional ballots. They also have to duplicate and count 4,200 damaged ballots.