Das Williams caps off election with Supervisor victory at Casa Blanca

Incumbent+First+District+Supervisor+Das+Willaims+and+wife+Dr.+Jonnie+Williams+share+a+moment+during+the+election+party+on+Tuesday%2C+March+3%2C+2020%2C+at+Casa+Blanca+in+Downtown+Santa+Barbara%2C+Calif.+Williams+currently+holds+a+500+vote+lead+over+Laura+Capps.

Nate Stephenson

Incumbent First District Supervisor Das Willaims and wife Dr. Jonnie Williams share a moment during the election party on Tuesday, March 3, 2020, at Casa Blanca in Downtown Santa Barbara, Calif. Williams currently holds a 500 vote lead over Laura Capps.

Jun Starkey and Lucy Marx

Former City College student Das Williams edged out challenger Laura Capps to win a second term on the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors, beating Capps by over 700 votes.

“We talked to 15,000 people,” said Williams. “It felt good to know we made an impact.”

Williams beat back an onslaught of attacks from Capps over his support of cannabis farms and alliance with some Republicans.

Results began pouring in at around 8:30 p.m. with Williams holding a consistent lead throughout the night.

Williams was first elected to the Santa Barbara City Council in 2003 and has served elected office in the state Assembly and board of supervisors since.

The Democratic Party of Santa Barbara County, which endorsed Williams, held its election night party at the State Street restaurant Casa Blanca, attended by Mayor Cathy Murillo and Councilmembers Oscar Gutierrez and Mike Jordan among many others. 

“I’m very happy he won,” said Murillo. “He really cares about his people.”

The battle between Williams and Capps had seen many dramatic moments.

Williams had been accused of dirty-dealing with cannabis growers by taking over $60,000 in campaign donations from them while drafting the county’s recreational cannabis ordinance.  

Laura Capps similes while entering her joint election party with Elsa Granados on Tuesday, March 3, 2020 at Jill's Place Restaurant in Downtown Santa Barbara, Calif. Laura said that she can be optimistic and positive about her campaign because they were able to communicate with voters.
Desiree Erdmann
Laura Capps similes while entering her joint election party with Elsa Granados on Tuesday, March 3, 2020 at Jill’s Place Restaurant in Downtown Santa Barbara, Calif. Laura said that she can be optimistic and positive about her campaign because they were able to communicate with voters.

Despite the first wave of results clearly showing Williams’ victory, Capps and her supporters remained in good spirits. 

“I think her values resonate with the community,” said Christina Pizarro, president of the Democratic Women of Santa Barbara, which endorsed Capps. “No matter what happens today, Laura’s still a winner,” she said. 

In addition to her criticisms of Williams, Capps also framed her campaign around solving the homeless and housing crisis, addressing climate issues and advocating for women and children. 

Capps emphasized the impact of the women involved in her race. “This is definitely a people-powered campaign, but I’d say it’s 90% women.”

Capps also nodded to her parents’ previous political involvement, when both of her parents represented Santa Barbara in congress. “That’s the whole theme of this campaign, it’s nostalgia.”

Capps is president of the Santa Barbara School Board, but will have to run for re-election in November. 

“She took a real chance challenging someone so popular,” Murillo said. 

Capps refused to concede that she had lost to Williams, speaking endlessly of her plans for the community. 

“I have big plans for this county,” said Capps. “We are such a cohesive community.”