Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, who was running unopposed, was re-elected in Tuesday’s primary election and Supervisor Michelle Steel, whose re-election was considered all but guaranteed, showed a strong lead in early returns.

In Steel’s race, the first round of results show Steel with 65.8 percent of the vote in her coastal 2nd District seat, ahead of Democrat Brendon Perkins’ (23.4 percent) and Libertarian Michael Mahoney’s (10.8 percent).

Bartlett had 100 percent of the initial votes reported for her south county 5th District. She was the only candidate on the ballot.

The first results were released at 8:05 p.m. by the county Registrar of Voters, and reflect an estimated 43 to 48 percent of the total countywide vote, based on estimates of total turnout from Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley.

The first results include mail-in ballots received by the registrar by Saturday as well as in-person early voting. They do not include votes cast on Election Day or mail-in votes that were not received by the registrar by Saturday.

Officials do not know how many ballots currently are in the mail. Under state law, ballots mailed on or before Election Day are counted and included in the final result after they’re received by the Registrar.

Steel’s $500,000-plus campaign war chest was much larger than her competitors. The county sheriff’s deputies union also supported Steel with $25,000 in mailers in the weeks leading up to the election. Steel and Bartlett voted for a $62 million contract increase for deputies in September 2016.

Bartlett and Steel’s seats weren’t considered competitive, given the voter registration advantage for the incumbent Republicans.

Steel has said she’s planning to run for GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher’s seat in Congress when he retires.

Nick Gerda covers county government and Santa Ana for Voice of OC. You can contact him at

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