New leader says his nonpartisan message appealed to voters
Randy Rowse is heading back to City Hall — this time as mayor.
Results from the Santa Barbara County Elections office Thursday showed that with 100% of the precincts reporting, Mr. Rowse, a former Santa Barbara City Council member and former Paradise Cafe owner, kept his lead in the Santa Barbara mayoral race.
On Thursday, he had 38.6% or 10,037 of the 26,071 votes cast. That’s just down a few percentage points from where he stood on election night Tuesday.
“Well, it’s official …. we did it!” Mr. Rowse wrote in an email to supporters. “Everyone of you on this mailing list had a part in getting us across the line.
“I am extremely proud of the campaign we ran, seizing and holding the high ground throughout. Our message was straightforward and simple: A return of focus and priority to our city and away from partisan politics!” Mr. Rowse said. “That message clearly resonated with voters to help us prevail and direct us to change the tone and direction of City Hall.
James Joyce III remained in second place with 27.41% or 7,125 votes.
Mayor Cathy Murillo was third with 25.2% or 6,551 votes.
Mayor Murillo issued a concession statement shortly after results were posted Thursday afternoon at countyofsb.org/care/elections/results.
“It has been an honor and a joy to serve Santa Barbara as its mayor, and I’m proud of the 10 years of public service making budget and policy decisions for our beautiful full-service city,” Mayor Murillo said in an email to the News-Press. “I am especially gratified for my work supporting our libraries and after-school enrichment programs, assisting working families and at-risk youth, and always advocating for affordable housing, tenants rights and solutions for homelessness.
“I contacted incoming Mayor Randy Rowse on election night, expressing congratulations and offering my assistance in transitioning to a new City Council,” she said. “I am committed to doing what’s best for our City in this transition after the Nov. 2 election. Much gratitude and respect for our city staff, my colleagues on the City Council, and all of our community partners that make Santa Barbara a wonderful and special city.”
Another mayoral candidate, Deborah Schwartz, the Santa Barbara Planning Commission chair, placed fourth with 6.36% or 1,652 votes.
Mark Whitehurst was fifth with 1.54% or 401 votes.
And Matt Kilrain placed sixth with just 0.2% or 52 votes. That also happened to be the number of write-in votes for other candidates, whoever they might be.
In his statement, future Mayor Rowse discussed the next chapter for the city of Santa Barbara.
“Now, of course, the real work begins,” he said. “Your incredible support throughout the campaign defines the marching orders that I need to follow with every ounce of energy and diligence that I can muster. Your collective energy has provided the necessary momentum to drive the success we all expect and deserve from our public servants.
“I was asked by the media about what my message was to the folks that voted otherwise,” he said. “The answer is simple. I have 90,000 employers, and, as you’ve all heard me say many times over, I won’t forget who I work for.”
In other races, the three City Council incumbents were re-elected.
Kristin Sneddon kept her District 4 seat, with 61.55% or 4,176 votes. Challenger Barrett Reed had 38.23% or 2,594 votes.
Meagan Harmon retained her District 6 seat with 53.59% or 1,912 votes. Nina Johnson had 33.69% or 1,202 votes. Jason Carlton got 9.64% or 344 votes. Zachary Pike placed fourth with 2.66% or 95 votes.
Eric Friedman ran unopposed for his District 5 seat.
Final results for the mayoral and City Council races will be certified 30 days after the election.