Eventually he would lose to Brian Veerkamp, but at 10:30 Tuesday night Richard Barb still had at least 50 supporters and quite a few children watching and waiting for the next ballot count update. Barb said the main hall at the Wilkinson-Hupcey Building on Placerville’s Main Street had been full earlier in the evening.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the El Dorado County Elections Department showed Barb with 44 percent of the vote to Veerkamp’s 55.6 percent.
His campaign had edged up from 15 points down to 13.75 down over the course of the evening, and he expected to see more progress with the next update. His tally was hovering in the low to mid-40s at the time – with about 55 percent of the District 3 votes counted.
Although he’d worked with local political consultant Dan Dellinger, Barb said, “We managed the campaign pretty much on our own.” Several of his nine children stood out on Highway 50 at one or another Placerville intersection many an afternoon holding campaign signs for their dad.
Barb’s campaign treasurer Sam Muscarello told the crowd a little after 10 p.m. to hold on for the next count coming out of the county’s Elections Department. It was he who reminded that only 55 percent of the ballots had been counted and that most of those had been absentee votes.
“Keep watching,” the treasurer said.
A newcomer to politics, Barb ran an aggressive campaign collecting money and supporters from a variety of interest groups — from Sacramento building contractors to the National Rifle Association.
Other endorsements came from the National Tax Limitation Committee, Gun Owners of America, California Taxpayer Protection Committee, Gun Owners of California, California Republican Assembly, Region Builders, former state Sen. Don Rogers, former state Sen. H.L. Richardson, former El Dorado County Sheriff Hal Barker, and former Undersheriff Ernie Hillman, according to one of Barb’s campaign mailers.
The candidate met with the Mountain Democrat’s editorial board in late September and described some of his ideas for improving the local economy.
In particular, he said the local mining and timber industries need to be encouraged rather than suppressed, but the key to long-term economic vitality should be light industry and clean manufacturing. That kind of development would bring “livable wages and long-term jobs to the county,” he said at the time.
Local fees, taxes and regulations were particular targets of Barb’s campaign. A slogan he used included the “three Rs.” That is, Review, Reform and Reduce the regulatory and tax burdens especially on small business.
As for a future in the political realm, Barb said “four years is a long time from now.”
Meanwhile, he said he would go back to devoting more time to his specialty drapery and shutters business.
Contact Chris Daley at 530-344-5063 or [email protected] Follow @CDaleyMtDemo