Election results were certified countywide on Nov. 19, but Pismo Beach is the only place in San Luis Obispo County where the electoral outcome is still uncertain.
Specifically, incumbent Pismo Beach Mayor Shelly Higginbotham and challenger Kevin Kreowski were separated by just two votes in the final election tally. Higginbotham garnered 1,637 votes; Kreowski tallied 1,635.
After speaking to supporters, Kreowski told New Times that he’ll be requesting a recount no later than Nov. 21.
“It’s been a roller coaster ride, and I’m still on it,” Kreowski said. “I’m proud and humbled because I’m up against an incumbent, so to be only two votes short says a whole bunch.”
State law requires whoever requests the recount to pay a deposit. Kreowski supporter Mark Adam launched a GoFundMe page to fund the recount effort on Nov. 17, and—as of press time on Nov. 19—the page had raised $3,305 of its $3,000 goal.
County Clerk-Recorder Julie Rodewald estimated that a recount of the Pismo mayoral race would take slightly more than a day, cost $1,800 per day, and should get underway shortly after Kreowski submits his request. If Kreowski is ultimately declared the victor, Rodewald said the county will refund him the cost of the recount.
“We think the count is right, and we’re staking our certification of the election on that, but it’s his right to request a recount,” Rodewald said. “We want to put this to bed as much as everyone else, so we will move quickly.”
One unexpected supporter of Kreowski’s GoFundMe campaign was Higginbotham—who chipped in with a $495 contribution on the morning of Nov. 19.
“It’s obviously a really close race, so I want the community to finally certify the election and move ahead,” Higginbotham said. “I just think everybody will feel better if there’s a recount, and it only seems fair.”
The race for two seats on the Pismo Beach City Council race was also close, with challenger Sheila Blake and incumbent Mary Ann Reiss winning, and challenger Marcia Guthrie trailing Reiss by only 17 votes.
Guthrie, however, told New Times she wouldn’t be requesting a recount; she’s throwing her support behind Kreowski’s effort.