OCEANSIDE — Oceanside voters showed strong support for the incumbent mayor and council members in Tuesday’s election.
According to Wednesday morning vote counts posted on the San Diego County Registrar of Voters website, Mayor Jim Wood received a landslide 23,274 votes, 64 percent of votes counted.
This is the fourth term for Wood, who served as council member for two years, and as mayor for 12 years.
“I’m happy that I won,” Wood said. “I didn’t try a lot this time. The public had a few years to look at me and decide if I was OK or not. I appreciate the support.”
Four candidates challenged the mayor. None of them have served on the City Council.
The next highest vote getter was Jim Gibson, who received 8,563 votes, 23.5 percent of votes counted.
All other mayoral candidates fell below 2,000 votes, and received less than 6 percent of votes.
City Council incumbents also won by wide margins.
Councilwoman Esther Sanchez, who has served for 16 years, received the most votes at 15,013, more than 24 percent of votes.
Councilman Jack Feller, who too served for 16 years, also kept his seat with the second highest count of 13,679 votes, just more than 22 percent.
Feller said this year was a tough race due in part to The Oceanside Blade.
The newspaper began publication in September and allegedly ran attack stories on Feller and Sanchez in retaliation for their votes against city digital billboards. One of the digital billboards was proposed by the newspaper’s publisher Tom Missett.
Regardless of what most called “yellow journalism” by The Oceanside Blade, Feller and Sanchez prevailed.
Out of five challengers, Linda Gonzales, who was endorsed by The Oceanside Blade, came closest to unseating an incumbent with 10,662 votes, more than 17 percent of votes. All other candidates fell below 8,200 votes, less than 14 percent.
City Clerk Zack Beck was unchallenged, and received 30,374 votes.
In looking ahead Wood said the city is slowly coming out of the recession, and moving in the right direction.
Wood said over the next four years Oceanside will be faced with prioritizing the extra $1.2 million in its annual budget between multiple projects, which include the planned aquatic center and Coast Highway improvements.
Wood said the solution is to bring in more high paying, secure jobs.
Wood added public safety and ensuring quality of life for seniors also remain top priorities.