Steve Kinsey will continue to represent the western portion of Novato on the Marin County Board of Supervisors after cruising to victory Tuesday night in the primary election.
With about 29 of 32 precincts reporting, the incumbent in District 4 had an insurmountable lead over Corte Madera Vice-Mayor Diane Furst, 61.8 percent (4,381 votes) to 38.0 percent (2,691 votes).
Even as Kinsey declared victory at his campaign headquarters, Furst remained upbeat.
"It's nice to be able to celebrate the end of the campaign. The early returns were disappointing, but we have a ways to go," she said even as the updated poll numbers showed Kinsey broadening his lead.
"I'm proud of our campaign with what we were able to do, especially given the budget constraints," Furst said. "Considering the odds coming in, I'm proud of what we've accomplished."
At 10:45 p.m., Kinsey was about to turn to his crowd of supporters and declare victory.
"I'm guessing the stagecoach arrived bringing the votes in from the west," he joked.
"I told (my supporters) in very positive terms about this opportunity to continue serving and about how much I appreciated the support," Kinsey said. "... I think we found out that this was about experience and leadership."
Furst's supporters had hoped to carry her into the Board of Supervisors, but consoled themselves that she'll still represent Corte Madera.
After the Corte Madera Town Council meeting adjourned, most of the members joined Furst's campaign party.
Furst, who also serves on the executive board of the Transportation Authority of Marin with Kinsey, will continue her role on the Corte Madera Town Council.
"I do know that the conversation has shifted," Furst said. "Now we're talking about fiscal responsibility and openness and transparency in government," Furst said. "These are things we weren't talking about before the campaign. Hopefully they'll stick and become part of the longer-term discussion."
Kinsey's district includes western Novato, all of West Marin, Corte Madera, Homestead Valley, San Quentin Village, and parts of San Rafael and Larkspur.
Kinsey, a Forest Knolls resident since 1978, is president of the board of supervisors this year and its most senior member. He gained about 3,000 more Novato residents in his district in September 2011 following an evaluation of 2010 U.S. Census data. Judy Arnold, the supervisor for District 5, subsequently had 3,000 fewer Novato residents in her district.
"I walked the new part of the district and made time to meet those people, and I called the other Novato families in the district," he said. "I didn't take this campaign lightly."
Kinsey campaigned on a platform of sound fiscal management, transportation leadership, coastal protection and restoration, sustainable agriculture, responding to climate change and prioritizing safety net services for at-risk residents.
Furst, an eight-year Marin resident, has a background in finance, accounting and economics. She took a firm stand against regional housing mandates and campaigned actively on a community-based approach to the controversial issue of future planning.
She has been lauded — and jeered — for taking a stand against the Association of Bay Area Governments. Corte Madera voted earlier this year to leave ABAG in defiance of some of the pressure being placed on the Town based on ABAG's projections for jobs and housing growth.