SAN DIEGO — Undersheriff Kelly Anne Martinez built an early lead in San Diego County’s sheriff race, early results in the California General Election showed.

As of Tuesday evening, Martinez, a registered Democrat, was still leading and had garnered nearly 59% of the vote compared to her opponent John Hemmerling, who had about 41% of the vote. There were still 4,600 projected outstanding ballots countywide, according to the San Diego County Registrar of Voters.

The department is the law enforcement agency for Del Mar, Encinitas, Imperial Beach, Lemon Grove, Poway, San Marcos, Santee, Solana Beach and Vista. The department also operates seven detention facilities. 

Hemmerling, a registered Republican, is a former assistant San Diego city attorney, U.S. Marine Corps officer and San Diego police officer.

Martinez received former San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore’s endorsement as well as that of other high-profile local Democrats.  

If elected, Martinez would be the county’s first female sheriff.