Brooks Firestone won the contentious 3rd District seat on the board of supervisors outright Tuesday night with 53.3 percent of the vote, besting his nearest contender, John Buttny, by just over 16 percent.
Buttny, current 3rd District staff assistant, received 37.1 percent of the vote; businessman Steve Pappas received 6.4 percent and rancher Slick Gardner roped in 3 percent. Because Firestone received more than 50 percent of the vote, there will not be a runoff between him and Buttny.
At the Firestone Walker Brewing Company in Buellton, Firestone addressed a crowd of several hundred supporters while an open bar kept his signature beer and wine flowing. Firestone said this was the greatest moment of his political career, which includes two terms in the California State Assembly and a failed congressional bid in 1998. He and his campaign staff said they were relieved the race was not moving to a runoff, which would mean eight more months of campaigning, and that it was time to unite the often fractious district.
“I’m very excited about this,” Firestone said. “To be that bridge, that part of healing the county, at this point of the county’s history – thank you, 3rd District, for this opportunity.”
After his address to the crowd of supporters, which filled a room adjacent to a warehouse where boxes of wine were stacked two stories high, Firestone said it will be up to students to decide whether the attention he pays to Isla Vista after the election will falter.
“Watch me,” Firestone said. “I will be there on the campus with the Associated Students [Commission on Public Safety] meetings. I will be there when the administration wants me to represent them in Sacramento. I’ll be at basketball games; I’ll be at the parties.”
Firestone said he plans to open an office in I.V. and he hopes to earn the support of voters who opposed him in this election.
“I’m gonna be there because I enjoy being there,” Firestone said. “[Winning the election outright] allows me to be on the campus not as a supervisor, but as a supervisor-elect. It gives me a learning curve, a communication curve – that is a great gift.”
Firestone’s son, Andrew Firestone, said he was proud of his father.
“What’s so great about it is to see how humble he is up there,” Andrew Firestone said. “He knows this is an opportunity, not a right.”
Andrew Firestone said he would be the first one to hold his father to the promises he makes to I.V. residents.
“He knows he’s going to be judged every step of the way,” he said.
Buttny held a party of his own at the Camino Real Caf