RIVERSIDE (CBSLA.com) — Early results from Tuesday’s primary showed Riverside County District Attorney Paul Zellerbach trailing veteran prosecutor Mike Hestrin.
Hestrin held 54.18 percent of votes to Zellerbach’s 45.82 percent, with 104,000 ballots tabulated and 63.52 percent of precincts reporting, according to the Registrar of Voters’ website.
Hestrin spoke to KCAL9’s Crystal Cruz at his campaign watch party, where he said he was “feeling good” after hearing results about the early lead.
“You know we’ve got a big lead and with 22 percent in it’s not over. We’re watching closely the polls and we’re going to keep monitoring obviously but I feel like we’re in a good position,” he said.
“Frankly I did expect to be on top. I didn’t know what the numbers were going to be.”
Zellerbach did not make himself available to CBS2/KCAL9 despite several requests to speak with him.
It has been a controversial race, with Zellerbach possibly facing criminal charges for allegedly stealing Hestrin’s campaign signs.
Indio police asked the state attorney general to file criminal charges against the prosecutor for allegedly driving a county car to Indio and twice taking down the signs. One incident was caught on grainy cell phone video.
Zellerbach has maintained he has no regrets about the incident.
“It was an accident. I’ve indicated that before,” he said previously.
The two opponents spoke at a forum in Perris last month.
“The system is working much better than it has for many many years and we still have a long way to go,” Zellerbach said, while Hestrin vowed to “dedicate every minute that I’m your district attorney to service.”
If either candidate gets 50 percent plus one vote, he will win the race.
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