With the provisional ballots counted, the Kern County Elections Division released the official final election results on Thursday, Nov. 29.
And while most local races remained unchanged, one tight contest was ultimately decided.
With a final separation of just 135 votes, challenger Henry Schaeffer beat out incumbent Bill Steele take his seat on the Tehachapi Valley Healthcare District board of directors.
"I was surprised to have come from behind," said Schaeffer, who although being down by over 200 votes according to pre-election polls surged during the absentee and provisional counts. "But the feeling in the community is that the current hospital is not the best place to get care. We need to change that and the community has made that known."
Now with the election finally over, Schaeffer is anxious to get to work, and said his two biggest goals are to make sure the board focuses on providing the best medical care, along with rethinking the accessibility of the proposed new hospital site and the cost of care.
"One of the biggest problems we have in this community is that the working class people have no insurance and cannot pay for high medical costs," Schaeffer said. "They need a building that will not chase them away. We need to come up with a program that will make care accessible and affordable to everyone in Tehachapi."