The day before Tuesday’s primary election, as other local politicians scrambled to rally supporters, San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts was gliding back to San Diego on a flight from Washington, D.C.
He had been working to secure funding for the Mid-Coast Corridor Transit Project. Roberts went to sleep after midnight Monday night and rested comfortably – he didn’t set an alarm – knowing his re-election to his sixth and final term as supervisor was a lock.
“I didn’t set the alarm because I didn’t have anything scheduled,” Roberts said.
Roberts ran unopposed for re-election as supervisor to District 4. His spokesman even wrote Roberts’ victory press release on Sunday.
So instead of making calls and acting out a familiar script of handshakes and voter-booth photo ops on Tuesday, the 71-year-old Roberts and his staff dove into a pile of paperwork. Then he met two of his two childhood best friends for lunch in Little Italy.
Throughout the campaign, Roberts’ Twitter account fired off only two messages:
One on March 12 after no one filed to run against him for supervisor, and the second, Tuesday night, thanking voters in the fourth district.
“The fact that no one felt compelled to oppose me this year confirms that view,” he said. “But this is a special occasion for me personally. Without an opponent, I will be able to stay focused on the projects and priorities I care so much about.”
Roberts said he never expected to run unopposed. He said opponents may have decided to save their money until after he’s termed out.
Early Tuesday morning, he told his wife, “This doesn’t feel right. I feel like I’m getting away with something.”
But he reveled the opportunity, saying an earlier trip to China and the weekend trip to Washington D.C. would have likely been impossible if he was on the campaign trail.
On Tuesday night, Roberts did go to a couple campaign events, and when he walked into a banquet hall at the U.S. Grant hotel about 45 minutes before any results were released, he was greeted by the chairman of the conservative Lincoln Club with open arms.
“Man, have I been worried about you in this race!” exclaimed Bill Lynch.
“I saved you a lot of money!” Roberts said.
His lack of opposition became a bit of a running joke among the crowd throughout the night. As results began to come in after 8 p.m. and everyone watched some of the contested elections, a spectator would inevitably cheer Roberts’ clear, early and obvious victory.
Roberts spent some of his time in the banquet hall chatting about baseball, one of his favorite topics, with friends and supporters who took photos with him.
After 9:30 p.m. he climbed to the stage and addressed the crowd.
“I’ll tell you,” Roberts said. “It’s been the most fun election I’ve ever had.”