Russ Bogh eked out a narrow win over competitor Jeff Hewitt, based on early election results for the Riverside County Fifth District Supervisor race to succeed retiring supervisor Marion Ashley.

Both candidates acknowledged that mail-in ballots were still trickling in.

As of Wednesday morning, Bogh, of Beaumont, had 23,766 votes, or 50.38 percent, while Hewitt, of Calimesa, had 23,406 votes, or 49.62 percent.

Hewitt told the Record Gazette that the initial results were disappointing, though his campaign retained some hope as an early 15-point lead in favor of Bogh narrowed significantly by Wednesday morning.

“I thought it would be a closer race,” said Hewitt, who owns Calimesa-based Champagne Pools. “I’m proud of the race I ran; by comparison we kept it very clean and straightforward. We ran against a political machine that raised twice as much in funding.”

Now that his term is expiring on Calimesa’s city council where he has served three terms as mayor, “It may sound cliché, but I’m going to spend time with my family. These races take everything out of you, and my family’s been ignored a lot” in order to focus on his campaign.

Bogh spent Tuesday evening monitoring election results at the Xola Hotel in Moreno Valley.

“We’re cautiously optimistic,” Bogh said, since the race was too close to call Wednesday morning. And while a lot of politicians say that, Bogh joked, “We get a lot of practice saying it. I knew it was going to be a close race, but I’m pretty optimistic we will be able to pull it off.”

Bogh, a former state assemblyman, is vice president of Beaumont-based Bogh Engineering.

The hometown papers of Bogh and Hewitt endorsed their respective candidates: a sister paper to the Record Gazette, the Yucaipa-Calimesa News Mirror endorsed Hewitt, and the Record Gazette endorsed Bogh (both companies are part of Yucaipa-based Century Group Newspapers).

Staff Writer David James Heiss may be reached at dheiss@recordgazette.net , or by calling (951) 849-4586 x114.

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