Angela Valles

Angela Valles speaks at a candidate forum earlier this year. (File Photo: James Quigg, Daily Press)

By Shea Johnson
Staff Writer
Posted Jun. 8, 2016 at 5:56 PM
Updated Jun 8, 2016 at 6:19 PM

Anticipation of the November face-off between Robert Lovingood and Angela Valles officially started Wednesday, even though Valles, a former Victorville City Councilwoman, would likely argue it had been growing since February, planted when she announced her candidacy.

Another argument could be made that the writing was on the wall after the first round of primary election results was released at 8 p.m. Tuesday, showing Valles comfortably in second and Lovingood with a sizable advantage, but not with the 50-percent-plus-1 majority that would have avoided this scenario. And challengers would cut into that lead further as the night went on.

The general election run-off is now set for San Bernardino County 1st District supervisor: Lovingood, who finished with 38.09 percent, versus Valles, who garnered 25.3 percent of the vote. They’re two politically established candidates who have sparred in the past over Valles’ allegations that Lovingood uses his seat to advance his business interests, and the incumbent defeated Valles’ husband Rick Roelle in a run-off four years ago.

“Clearly, we now have a very competitive race going into the November general election,” said David Dupree, a political professor at Victor Valley College.

It would appear that Lovingood holds the early edge, Dupree said, buyoed by name recognition, community outreach, campaign organization and fundraising ability.

“Those advantages will certainly grow in importance in the general election,” he said, “where the voter pool is filled with less informed and less active voters than in the primary.”

On Tuesday night, Lovingood pointed to his top vote-getter status as tantamount to a “vote of confidence” from the electorate. But Dupree, who said he sensed the anti-Lovingood sentiment was not at a groundswell, added it was worth exploring whether the formal “NO to Lovingood” campaign had been particularly effective.

About the same time that Lovingood was sounding optimistic late Tuesday, Valles and Roelle, a former Apple Valley mayor who finished third, were equally encouraged as they looked forward to November.

After all, they said, their overt strategy by numbers had worked to keep Lovingood under the majority vote threshold and their combined number of votes topped his. If Roelle’s supporters were to shift to Valles, and she could siphon votes from those who backed third- and fourth-place finishers Hesperia Mayor Pro Tem Paul Russ and Hesperia Mayor Bill Holland, then it “really tightens up that race,” Roelle said.

Yet Dupree warned that Tuesday’s race shaped up as a “tri-city contest, with votes being split out amongst the experienced officials from the three area city councils.”

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