SLO County GOP’s Rough Month Crowned by Epic Recount Fail

Aaron Ochs
7 min readJan 3, 2023
Republican Party of San Luis Obispo County Headquarters in Arroyo Grande

Watching the San Luis Obispo County District 2 Supervisor race was exhilarating and exhausting at the same time. There were various twists and turns, close shaves, allegations and pointless posturing that made SLO County voters exasperatedly exclaim, “Certify the damn results already and let us move on with our lives!”

Looks like those desperately seeking finality can finally breathe a sigh of relief because on December 29, the organizers backing the hand recount of District 2 ballots abruptly backed out. Paso Robles resident Darcia Stebbens, who requested the recount on the behalf of District 2 Supervisor challenger Bruce Jones’ campaign, didn’t make the daily payment required to keep the recount going. She requested County Clerk-Recorder Elaina Cano’s office’s to halt the recounting, effectively terminating it. This means the original election results stand: District 2 Supervisor Bruce Gibson will retain his long-held seat after winning by only 13 votes.

Bear in mind the 13-vote difference was achieved within a recently drawn, gerrymandered district map that was specifically engineered to disenfranchise voters in his own political party. And irony of ironies, the Republican Party of SLO County has complained bitterly about their voters being disenfranchised within district boundaries they helped craft to suppress Democrat voters.

For all of the calculated chaos and drama they injected into the voters’ collective consciousness, the GOP managed to lose their precious conservative board majority, $45,975 for the recount, and quite possibly the gerrymandered map they fought so strongly to adopt. Now that Democrats will assume board majority next month, it’s unlikely SLO County will continue maintaining a fervent defense of that map in court since a lawsuit against the gerrymandered map remains in play.

How did the GOP spin their utmost embarrassing defeat? They didn’t. Complete silence on their website and social media.

But we did hear from the organization that backed the recount: San Luis Obispo County Citizens Action Team (SLOCCAT). Financially supported by the GOP, SLOCCAT consists of Stebbens and Richard Patten, author of the gerrymandered map, and unidentified “dozens of local citizen volunteers.” Stebbens and Patten were…

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Aaron Ochs

Author, artist, advocate and entrepreneur from Morro Bay, California.