Vote analysis: DHS incumbents have a tough sell to voters

November 6th, 2013 | by Erica Felci | Comments

Elections always bring some surprises. But if one thing has remained consistent over the years, it is Desert Hot Springs voters’ desire for change.

During the past 12 years, voters have supported new leadership in all but one election.

That trend continued on Tuesday, when voters replaced the city’s quietest council member, Jan Pye, with Joe McKee who has served on several city committees and earned support from Democrats and union leaders.

With 1,103 votes, McKee earned more support than any other mayoral or council candidate on the ballot, according to the unofficial final results from the Riverside County registrar’s office.

DHS candidates 2013Pye had campaigned as a slate with Mayor Yvonne Parks and Mayor Pro Tem Scott Matas, who retained their respective seats.

Here’s a look at how the city has voted in previous city elections:

2011: Then-challenger Adam Sanchez, who this year campaigned for mayor, trounced incumbent Karl Baker. Sanchez had 1,403 votes to Baker’s 537.

2009: Voters actually supported the city’s incumbents. Parks, Matas and Pye, a former council member who was appointed earlier that year to fulfill Councilman Al Schmidt’s term, all secured additional terms.

2007: In what was considered a referendum on the city’s leadership, voters replaced three incumbents: Mayor Alex Bias and council members Hank Hohenstein and Mary Stephens.

Bias came in last of the four mayoral contenders and Parks, who was then a councilwoman, took his spot. Voters also elected Baker, Al Schmidt and Russell Betts, who is still on council today.

2005: With incumbent Mayor Matt Weyuker opting not to run, voters chose Bias, a real estate broker who had previously advocated for recalls of the council. Voters also chose Parks over then-Councilman Will Pieper.

2003: After vice mayor Greg Ruppert chose not to run, voters supported Hohenstein.

Hohenstein would serve just one term. After he left office, the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission fined him $18,000 for voting on the proposed StoneRidge development when he should have recused himself.

2001: Pye, then a councilwoman, was unsuccessful in trying to unseat Mayor Matt Weyuker. Her seat went to newcomer Will Pieper.

The Riverside County Registrar of Voters’ website does not list election results before 2000.

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