San Bernardino County’s 1st, 3rd district county supervisor races go to runoff election

File: San Bernardino county line
File: San Bernardino county line
J. Stephen Conn/Flickr

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It looks like the top two vote-getters in a pair of closely watched San Bernardino County races in Tuesday's primary will square off in November. The battle continues for the 1st and 3rd District county supervisor seats.

In the divisive race for 3rd District supervisor, embattled incumbent Neil Derry will face former San Manuel tribal leader James Ramos. The race is notable for the big money raised by the candidates, as well as questions over Derry’s legal woes and his ties to figures in an ongoing corruption probe.

Derry pleaded guilty last year to a misdemeanor for failing to report campaign cash. Ramos says it’s time for change.

“Because it shows how entrenched this negative image and this corruption is in San Bernardino County," Ramos said. "It doesn’t wanna move, doesn’t wanna go anywhere.”

Ramos fell just shy of the 50 percent majority needed to win the race outright. Derry says he’s confident he’ll prevail — but is ready to move on if he doesn’t.

“I’m expecting we will prevail," Derry said, "but if I don’t, I’ll go out in the private sector and do an honest day’s work like I’ve done my whole life.”

A third candidate, onetime Twentynine Palms mayor Jim Bagley, made a surprisingly strong showing. Bagley reeled in about 20 percent of the vote. The former mayor of Twentynine Palms, who has not said whether he’ll make an endorsement, says he’ll be back.

“It’s a good fit for the life experience I’ve accumulated in the last 25 years," Bagley said. "We need to change this culture of corruption and you’ve got to elect people who have that ethic behind them.”

Seven candidates went for the open seat in the 1st Supervisorial District. It’s being vacated by one-term Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt. Top vote-getters, businessman Robert Lovingood and Apple Valley city council member Rick Roelle, will face off in November.

Mitzelfelt stepped down to run in the newly created 8th Congressional District. Despite his name recognition and a well-funded campaign, the outgoing supervisor failed to garner enough votes to qualify for the fall election.