Updated at 5:08 a.m. Wednesday
Steve Danon, chief of staff to Rep. Brian Bilbray, and deputy mayor of Solana Beach Dave Roberts will face off again in November.
With 100 percent of precincts counted, Danon had 32.8 percent of the votes, compared to 31.5 percent for Roberts.
Del Mar Mayor Carl Hilliard was third with 20.2 percent, followed by Bryan Ziegler, deputy county counsel, with 9 percent, and Stephen Pate, a transportation coordinator in the film industry, with 6.4 percent.
The ultimate winner of the North County seat will be the first new member of the Board of Supervisors in 17 years.
The five candidates are competing to represent the district that stretches from Encinitas to Torrey Pines to Rancho Bernardo.
Danon said change was needed in streamlining the county's permitting process "so it doesn't take five to seven years for a business to get their permit so they could extend their operation or build their operation."
Danon also pledged to end the Neighborhood Reinvestment Program, which provides grant funds to county departments, public agencies and nonprofits. The "slush fund," if not completely eliminated, should include a residents' panel "so that every group that elicits taxpayer funds will be thoroughly vetted before one dollar is allocated," Danon said.
Danon's priorities also include consolidating county fire districts into a regional firefighting authority and creating an ethics commission.
Roberts agreed that county government should foster an environment that spurs job growth.
"It is critical the next supervisor understands fiscal responsibility," Roberts said.
He also stressed environmental and quality of life initiatives, such as expanding open space areas and using recycled water on residential properties, as well as streamlining the Department of Planning and Land Use's business- permit process. He also said he would work to improve fire protection.
Hilliard stressed the need to attract well-paying jobs and bringing jobs back from out of state and overseas.
"Our challenge is to make sure that we don't get in the way of that change, that we don't regulate them to the point where it doesn't make sense for them to come back," Hilliard said.
Hilliard also said Public Safety Realignment, which shifted responsibility for low-level offenders from the state to counties, was a concern.