The race for San Bernardino County Third District supervisor, who will represent Redlands and Loma Linda, now goes to a two-candidate runoff in November, according to semi-official results released early Wednesday.
James Ramos took 46.92 percent of 42,410 votes counted in the Third District and incumbent Neil Derry took 32.84 percent, according to semi-official results released just before 2 a.m. June 6.
Jim Bagley finished with 20.25 percent and was eliminated from contention.
Derry was subdued Tuesday night at Mill Creek Cattle Company in Mentone, where he and supporters monitored election returns.
"The fact is there were two Republicans in the race against one Democrat, and the votes were split," Derry said after 10 p.m. "We're hopeful we can consolidate those and come out on top in November.
"There's going to be a runoff. We have no doubt about that. We're confident. The voters will have a clear choice. . . . In a campaign where an opponent spends a million dollars, you're running against a media barrage.
"We're going to raise enough to get our message out in November," Derry said. "The advantage we're going to have is we expect a large Republican turnout. My district's heavily Republican, and since there's only two people in the race we'll be able to focus more on the differences between myself and Mr. Ramos."
The mood was more upbeat after 11 p.m. at Mi Cocina in Highland, where Ramos and supporters monitored returns.
"I feel encouraged with the results so far," Ramos said. "It shows we're in the lead, it shows the people in San Bernardino County are ready for change, and they want to shed the negative image that's been plaguing San Bernardino County for so long.
"We have to start working together as elected officials to create jobs in our area. And I think it's sending a strong message, especially to the incumbent, that it's time for change.
"That way of doing business, we're done with that," Ramos said. "I'm encouraged by the percentages and the votes that are coming in. We're in it for the long run and we're going to run a strong campaign, because San Bernardino County deserves to start moving in a positive direction."