The race for the 1st District seat on the Santa Barbara City Council was considered too close to call following the release of semi-final election results Tuesday night, while candidates Mike Jordan and Brian Campbell jumped ahead in the race for the city’s 2nd District.
Incumbent Jason Dominguez had received 563 votes (48.12 percent) and Alejandra Gutierrez had received 532 votes (45.47 percent) in the race to represent the city’s Eastside, according to the semi-final election results issued by the County of Los Angeles County Clerk’s Office.
Cruzito Herrera Cruz had received 68 votes (5.81 percent) as of Tuesday evening.
In the race for the Mesa seat, Mr. Jordan tallied 935 votes (35.91 percent), while Mr. Campbell – the only Republican in either race – received 791 votes (30.38 percent). Teri Jory had received 449 votes (17.24 percent), while Tavis Boise had 232 votes (8.91 percent) and Luis Esparaza had 189 votes (7.28 percent).
City officials estimated that the results released for Tuesday’s vote-by-mail election were about 70 percent of the total votes.
Mr. Dominguez was elected in November 2015 and has had a robust career working with the Los Angeles City Attorney, the California Attorney General, the Santa Barbara County Counsel and as a United Nations war crimes prosecutor.
“I want to thank the people of the Eastside for once again putting their faith in me as a leader,” Mr. Dominguez told the News-Press in a statement. “I will continue to improve our beautiful city, whether that means cutting the red tape at city hall or promoting public safety. I’m excited to continue serving on the city council and I look forward to working with my colleagues and constituents!”
Ms. Gutierrez is director of the Franklin Service Center, which she co-founded to help Franklin School provide translation services, tutoring, health care, a food bank and other services.
“I’m so proud of all the work my team and my Eastside community did in this race,” Ms. Gutierrez told the News-Press in a statement. “I’m incredibly humbled by all of the support I have received from a variety of people across Santa Barbara. It’s time for a new generation of leadership in Santa Barbara, and I’m excited to be a part of it.”
Requests for comment sent to Mr. Jordan and Mr. Campbell were not returned by press time.
In August, both Oscar Gutierrez and Meagan Harmon were appointed to represent District 3 (Westside) and District 6 (downtown), respectively. Mr. Gutierrez will serve a five-year term and Ms. Harmon will serve a two-year term, which includes the remaining two years of former Councilman Gregg Hart, who now sits on the Board of Supervisors.
“I feel extremely grateful for the support of the council and my district, and the city overall,” Mr. Gutierrez told the News-Press at City Hall after the semi-final results were released. “I definitely feel very anxious for the candidates that are running right now that they’re not going to know the complete outcome until Friday. I feel really stressed for them.”
Ms. Harmon said she also felt lucky not to be stressed on election night and was thrilled to see the excitement and energy for those engaged in campaigns.
“I know this is a really weird thing to say, but there is nothing more meaningful in my view than what we’re doing here in municipal government,” Ms. Harmon said. “No matter what anyone goes on to do, the decisions we make on a Tuesday can change people’s lives on a Wednesday.
“To be here seeing the results and just seeing our neighbors making decisions and to know that we’re going to sit up there and sit with people that are elected by our peers – that’s such a beautiful thing.”
Ms. Harmon did not endorse any candidates running for election. Mr. Gutierrez endorsed Ms. Gutierrez and said he was hopeful that the results would swing in her favor.
“The game is not over until the bell rings,” he said. “I’m totally hopeful and I believe that she’s going to win, but I also have to just read those numbers as they are now.”
Mayor Cathy Murillo also attended the viewing party at City Hall.
“The experience that Michael Jordan brought in his candidacy is really reflected in those votes,” she told the News-Press. “He was my choice for City Council in the Mesa seat, so I’m hoping that his numbers hold.”
Ms. Murillo also endorsed Ms. Gutierrez, and said it was the candidate’s passion for helping children that drew her attention.
“She’s already helping families over there,” Ms. Murillo said. “She’s right in the thick of that. For me, that she cares about helping our children do well in school – that just puts her over the top right there.”
This year, the city contracted with the Los Angeles County Elections Office for certain election services, including the tally and canvas of returned ballots. Tuesday’s tally occurred in Norwalk and did not include all of the ballots received on Election Day.
A second tally will be held the afternoon of Friday, Nov. 8, which will include all of the ballots received at City Hall on Election Day (both from the Post Office and from the drop-off centers), as well as the ballots received in the mail on Wednesday with a postmarked date of Nov. 5.
An additional tally will be held the following week that will cover the ballots picked up at the Post Office on Thursday, Nov. 7, and Friday, Nov. 8, but postmarked by Election Day. It will also include those who returned ballots received with missing signatures where the signature is completed by Wednesday, Nov. 13.