The Board includes another Democrat, Chuck Washington, who is also the first African American to ever hold this post, as well as Republicans Kevin Jeffries and Karen Spiegel. Hewitt, for his part, won office in a 2018 upset against a Republican, which led the Los Angeles Times to ask, “Can this Riverside County Libertarian make a fringe party mainstream?”
The answer was no. Hewitt instead was twice accused of sexual harassment, and the county paid $50,000 to settle one of those claims. The supervisor went on to run as a replacement candidate in last year’s recall campaign against Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, but he ended up with only about 1% both statewide and in Riverside County.
Hewitt didn’t have a good relationship with his Democratic colleagues at home, either. In January, both Perez and Washington abstained from the vote to make the Libertarian board chair, a largely ceremonial role that rotates between the five districts: KESQ said that this was the first time in two decades when the chair vote was anything other than unanimous. Washington endorsed Gutierrez the next day, which The Press-Enterprise also said was the “first time in recent memory” a supervisor supported a bid against a colleague.
Team Blue will control the Board of Supervisors two years after Joe Biden carried Riverside County 53-45, which was the party’s best performance in a presidential election since LBJ’s double-digit win in 1964. (The only other Democratic presidential nominees to carry the county in the entire 20th century were FDR in 1936 and Bill Clinton in 1992, though both victories were narrow.)
This sprawling Inland Empire community is still far from a Democratic stronghold, though: Riverside County narrowly voted to recall Newsom in 2021, and it supported every member of the GOP’s statewide ticket this year. Indeed, the county hasn’t voted for a Democrat for governor since it favored Gray Davis all the way back in 1998.
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