Incumbent Third District Supervisor Neil Derry and challenger James Ramos continued their war of words in campaign mailers received Friday and Saturday by voters in Redlands, with less than two weeks before the June election.
Derry touts his recent endorsement by retired District Attorney Dennis Stout, who stated in a May 15 letter, "I have known Neil Derry for over 20 years, and the Third District of our county is lucky to have such an honest, hard working defender of the public's interest."
But Ramos, former chairman of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, calls Derry "a key link in San Bernardino County's chain of corruption."
Reached by phone Saturday evening, both candidates continued their verbal battle.
"Dennis Stout is a respected attorney in our community and in our county," Derry said. "He served two terms as the D.A. and he is a former councilman and mayor of Rancho Cucamonga.
"Dennis Stout, being out of politics, does not have an ax to grind," Derry said. "He calls it the way he sees it and he calls it fair. I think he sees San Bernardino County politics for what it is, without any agenda."
Derry asked what "the other side" had to say, referring to Ramos and his campaign, and responded to the "chain" mailer.
"I think it shows absolute desperation," Derry said. "It proves they know that they're losing this race. . . . Their polling and our polling is showing that the voters of the Third District are not for sale."
Ramos, speaking a few minutes later, hit back at Derry and expressed confidence in his chances of winning the Third District.
"The mailer about the chain of corruption shows exactly why I'm running," Ramos said. "That corruption is still strong and Neil Derry is a focal point in that.
"By hiring Jim Erwin as his chief of staff, and admitting that he and Jim are still friends, it shows exactly why I'm running for San Bernardino County board of supervisors.
"We have a good chance of getting 50 plus one percent of the vote on June 5," Ramos said. "We're running hard and we're confident that we can get San Bernardino County back on track."
Derry and Ramos are battling each other in a field of three that includes challenger Jim Bagley, former councilman and mayor of Twentynine Palms.
Election day is June 5. An outright winner must take 50 percent of the vote plus one. Otherwise the top two finishers run-off in November.
Bagley, Ramos and Derry met with Redlands-Loma Linda Patch recently for one-on-one interviews to discuss their backgrounds, formative experiences, and challenges they've faced to date.
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Redistricting has changed the Third District by excluding the Lake Arrowhead area, and including Lucerne Valley and Barstow. The redrawn Third District is now home to about 407,000 residents and it covers roughly 2,700 square miles.
The Third District has 183,000 registered voters, including 75,000 registered Republicans, 62,000 registered Democrats, and 35,000 registered as non-partisan, according to the county elections office.
A map of the redrawn district is attached to this report.