Escondido, CA
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Mayor’s race up in the air, although Abed leads slightly

This article is as of press time, Wednesday evening. 

Politics on the Escondido city council just got a whole lot more interesting, with the likelihood of many 3-2 votes in the future. At the very least, Olga Diaz, long a lone voice against a 4-1 majority, won’t feel quite so lonely.

By a narrow margin after a bitter campaign, Escondido Mayor Sam Abed appears to have won a third term. Less than 400 votes separated Abed from his challenger Paul “Mac” McNamara on Wednesday. 

McNamara was not ready to concede Wednesday morning, pointing out that when the first numbers came in Tuesday night that Abed had been leading by a larger majority. The numbers had been moving in his direction since then.

The latest tally was 12,247 votes (50.58%) for Abed and 11,859 votes (48.98%) for McNamara.

“There’s still plenty of votes to count,” said the challenger. “It’s going to be a nail biter. I don’t think we are ready to call the race just yet. We gained through the night. Obviously, you like to be leading at this point, but I think by the end of the day that will help us to determine that trend.”

Consuelo Martinez won a solid victory over longtime incumbent and political fixture Ed Gallo in District No. 1. Martinez, who narrowly lost to Gallo four years ago, saw seeds of gold in that defeat, and organized her comeback with an emphasis on the grassroots and reaching out directly to constituents to find out what their concerns are.

Wednesday morning the numbers were 1,778 (58.26%) for Martinez and 1,272 (41.68%) for Gallo.

Deputy Mayor John Masson also won a solid victory over his challenges, Vanessa Valenzuela and Nicole Downey. The numbers were Masson, 3,943 (53.94%), Valenzuela, 2,585 (35.36%) and Downey, 760 (10.40%).

Elementary School District

In the Escondido Union School District, Area No. 4, incumbent Zesty Harper defeated challenger Georgine M. Tomasi by 2,606 votes (51.36%) to 2,456 votes (48.40%). 

In EUSD Area No. 5, Gary M. Altenburg had 3,088 vote, (57.23%) to Frank Huston’s 2,299 votes (42.61%). 

San Pasqual Union School District

Three seats were up for grabs in this election. Votes were Matthew Zdunich, 370 (23.42%); Dara P. Czerwonka, 346 (21.90%); David R. Hersey, 331 (20.95%); John Merz, 328 (20.76%) and Jessica Adams, 205 (12.97%).

50th Congressional Seat

Duncan Hunter survived a strong challenge for his House of Representatives seat by Ammar Campa-Najjar, although the strongly Republican district appeared ready to forgive Hunter his alleged trespasses or at least let the legal system ultimately decide his fate. Although Campa-Najjar was a charismatic, well-spoken candidate, and despite the fact that Hunter has a teeny, tiny problem: a 40 count indictment by the U.S. Attorney alleging that he illegally spent money from his campaign on personal expenses; the voters of this traditionally rock-ribbed GOP district decided that they would bet that, if Hunter was convicted, the seat would then have a special election, rather than hand it over to the Democrats. 

The tally so far is 74,581 (53.94%) for Hunter and 63,693 (46.06%) for Campa-Najjar.

75th Assembly District 

Republican incumbent Marie Waldron of the 75h Assembly District won an impressive victory over her Democratic Challenger Alan Geraci, with 43,182 votes (57.75%) to 31,587 (42.25%.)

38th Senate District 

Escondido resident Jeff Griffith, running against Republican Brian W. Jones for the 38th District Senate seat, lost. Jones received 116,819 votes (55.97%) to Griffith’s 91,892 votes (44.03%).

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