ESCONDIDO — It appears the status quo will remain on the City Council.
Incumbents Olga Diaz and Mike Morasco held comfortable leads in District 3 and 4, respectively, after the latest release of votes from the San Diego County Registrar of Voters on Wednesday.
However, 620,000 mail and provisional ballots are outstanding, but a small percentage of those are expected to be counted for those races. In Escondido, all precincts have reported.
Nevertheless, Diaz held off challenger Joe Garcia, who was recruited by Mayor Sam Abed to take on the veteran Diaz. She leads by 1,001 votes (59.1 percent to 40.9).
It was the first time in the city’s history for district elections.
“I’m grateful to the voters in my district and I’m happy I get to keep doing this work,” Diaz said. “I want to compliment Mr. Garcia on taking the initiative for running for office. It’s a very challenging thing to do no matter what office you are running for.”
Morasco, meanwhile, also had little trouble in his bid for re-election, as he appears to have defeated attorney Ingrid Rainey. As of Wednesday morning’s count, Morasco led by 1,461 votes (60.79-39.21).
Although the outstanding ballots have yet to be counted, Morasco said he was cautiously optimistic the race was over. He said the margin is more than likely too large for Rainey to overcome.
Nevertheless, Morasco is excited to once again be part of the council.
“Like with any campaign, you’re relieve when it’s over and doubly relieve when you are able to achieve victory,” he added. “I’m thankful for all the support and continued vote of confidence from the folks in our district.”
In what started as a tight race eventually became a runaway for city treasurer Doug Shultz, as he won by more than 2,000 votes over challenger John Trudell. Shultz gathered 7,745 votes (35.72) to Trudell’s 5,705 (26.31) followed by Blaise Jackson (16.81), Ryan Clark (14.71) and Robroy Fawcett (6.45).
However, Shultz said Trudell withdrew from the race several weeks ago, but noting a “crazy” election year, said he felt pretty good even after the first results showed a near dead heat.
Nevertheless, Shultz is ready to fill the shoes of Ken Hugins, who did not run for re-election after 32 years as the city treasurer.
“I’m super excited to be able to get the position and I have really big shoes to fill,” Shultz said. “I’m looking forward to getting to work and grateful for all the support I had.”
On the education side, Dane White appears to have defeated Cesar Serrano, 57-43, in the Disitrict 4 race for a seat on the Escondido Union High School board.
In the Escondido Union School District race, Doug Paulson raced past Giovanny Miranda, 71.21-28-79, for the District 1 seat. In District 3, Joe Muga sailed past Mirek Gorny, 65.14-34.86.
Perhaps the most controversial race, though, was Measure B, which would have allowed the Lilac Hills Ranch development to go forward.
The proposed development is north of Escondido and residents there have railed against the measures pitfalls including traffic and large-scale infrastructure issues.
All county residents were able to vote on the measure since it was proposed for an unincorporated part of the county. However, the opposition answer with a resounding ‘no’ as 64.22 percent (409,130 votes) are against the proposal compared to 35.78 (227,993) in support.
Steve Puterski covers Carlsbad and Vista. For tips or story ideas, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @StevePuterski.