At just after 8 p.m. when the polls closed, early returns were showing Huffman in first place out of 12 candidates with 37 percent, followed by Republican Dave Roberts and Democrats Norman Solomon and Stacey Lawson, according to the Sonoma County Registrar of Voters website.
Six candidates ran for retiring Supervisor Valerie Brown's 1st District seat, four of them from the Sonoma Valley area, which includes Sonoma, Kenwood, Glen Ellen and smaller communities. The district also includes the Bennett Valley, Oakmont and Fountaingrove areas of Santa Rosa.
Tuesday's top two candidates, Santa Rosa City Council members Susan Gorin and John Sawyer, will run against each other in November. Both received 23 percent of the vote.
The race is proceeding to a November runoff because no candidate garnered more than 50 percent of the vote.
The four candidates from Sonoma Valley -- Gina Cuclis, Sonoma Mayor Joanne Sanders, Mark Bramfitt, and Michael McClure -- cumulatively received 53 percent of the vote. Cuclis was third with 17 percent, Sanders had 16 percent and Bramfitt received 14 percent, according to unofficial results.
The 1st District seat has traditionally gone to a Sonoma Valley resident. Brown, a former state Assembly member, has held the seat since August 2002 and she endorsed Bramfitt.
Sawyer said the results show he has support of voters in the Sonoma Valley, not just those in the district who live in Santa Rosa.
"It shows a willingness on their part to endorse a candidate from the west part of the district and a trust that they can be represented by someone in the west district," Sawyer said.
Gorin said she and Sawyer have obvious differences in attitudes and voting records, and she is anxious to talk to voters in the district before the November runoff election.
"There was a decided attitude in the Sonoma Valley that they preferred someone there to represent them. I'm sensitive to that," Gorin said.
She said there will have to be a precinct-by-precinct analysis to determine which candidates won the votes in the Sonoma Valley and Santa Rosa areas of the district.
"It's not all cut-and-dry which candidates took which precincts," she said.
A victory by either Gorin or Sawyer in November will mean three of the five seats on the Board of Supervisors are held by Santa Rosa-based candidates.
County Supervisor 1st District
(All precincts reporting)
Vote Count Percentage John Sawyer 5,266 24.5% Susan Gorin 5,180 23.1% Gina Cuclis 3,834 17.1% Joanne Sanders 3,619 16.1% Mark Bramfitt 3,190 14.2% Michael McClure 1,280 5.7% Write-in candidate(s) 32 0.2%
This article is by Bay City News and Alexis Fitts