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Smith wins county sheriff's race, Sylva secures judgeship

Smith garners 60 percent of vote, Sylva wins by wide margin

Sheriff Laurie Smith was re-elected and Julianne Sylva secured the county judgeship in a low-turnout primary election in Santa Clara County Tuesday, according to unofficial results.

Smith garnered almost 60 percent of voter support on her way to a fifth term as sheriff, beating retired Sheriff's Capt. Kevin Jensen, the favorite of deputy sheriff's and corrections deputies unions who had a bit more than 40 percent following an often bitter campaign.

Smith, 61, has said the top challenges for her next term will be managing the state-required transfer of low-level prison inmates to serve their time in the county jail, suppressing gang activity and preventing youths from joining gangs.

After his defeat at the polls early this morning, Jensen, 50, said

that he was proud to have been endorsed by an overwhelming majority of deputy sheriffs and other law enforcement officers in the county.

Jensen said that Smith does not work well with others and he expects there to be lingering problems during her next term.

"I think that a lot of ground had been made," Jensen said. "I'd like to see the department getting back to serving the public."

"There's just a mandate that she find a new job or retire," Jensen said. "She's lost her way."

Julianne Sylva won by a wide margin, with 80.80 percent of votes compared to Dennis Lampert's 19.20 percent, according to the county Registrar of Voters.

Tuesday's primary election drew only 20.6 percent of the county's 805,922 registered voters, according to preliminary data from the county registrar.

That compares to 43 percent of voters who turned out in the

previous gubernatorial primary in 2010 and more than 37 percent in 2006, according to the Registrar of Voters' website.

— Bay City News Service/Palo Alto Weekly staff

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