Bringing an end to what has been San Luis Obispo County’s most heated and expensive local race, Nipomo agricultural businesswoman Lynn Compton defeated incumbent District 4 Supervisor Caren Ray on Nov. 4, claiming her seat on the county Board of Supervisors.
Compton, a Republican, drew 53.46 percent of the vote (6,943 votes), while Ray, a Democrat, garnered 46.32 percent (6,016 votes). As of press time on Nov. 5—with roughly 5,200 mail-in and provisional ballots yet to be counted in District 4—only 43.7 percent of registered voters within District 4 had cast their ballots.
Ray’s election night event at Rooster Creek Tavern in Arroyo Grande—which doubled as a party for Arroyo Grande City Council candidates Tim Brown and Joe Costello—was lively, but noticeably on edge as the first round of results rolled in.
- PHOTO BY KAORI FUNAHASHI
- SUPER: Overall voter turnout was low, but spirits were high at Lynn Compton’s election night party, as she took an early lead over her opponent, Caren Ray, for SLO County’s District 4 Supervisor seat and never let it go.
Ray chose a purple dress because, as she put it, “everything I stand for is bipartisan and balanced leadership.” In a brief conversation with New Times, Ray admitted to a high stress level and said the first results, which essentially held for the rest of the night, were “not good.”
In a follow-up email on Nov. 5, Ray said the low turnout was a “total surprise” and professed that she was “profoundly disappointed.”
“I’m proud of my campaign and all we stood for,” she wrote. “I’ve had the opportunity to do more for my county in a year than most people get to do in a lifetime. … It has been my true privilege to have served.”
On the other hand, Compton’s election night party—held at her Arroyo Grande campaign headquarters—was a rollicking scene. Supporters spilled out onto the sidewalk, and ear-shattering chants of “Lynn!” broke out jubilantly as Compton’s lead widened.
As many people congratulated Compton on her victory when the second round of results was released close to 9:30 p.m., Compton remained cautious and unwilling to celebrate prematurely.
“I felt a little more confident as more numbers came in, and I left the party happy at about 11:30,” Compton told New Times on Nov. 5. “I prepared two speeches because I had no idea which way it would go, but it was a win, and I’m feeling good.”
When asked what her priorities would be as the newly minted supervisor-elect, Compton said that they’re the same issues she ran on—making SLO County a more business-friendly environment, helping struggling small businesses, and working on the county’s water situation.
“I couldn’t have done this without my volunteers and campaign workers—the people who believed in me,” Compton said. “I hope to work with everybody, I want to make a difference, and I’m looking forward to getting started.”