More than 1,500 ballots remain to be counted from Santa Barbara’s vest-pocket election on Tuesday, but Newsmakers refuses to let a small thing like mathematical certainty stop us from limbering up for some serious punditry.
Three quick takeaways:
Our money's on Alejandra. Sure Jason Dominguez is “leading” challenger Alejandra Gutierrez by 31 votes in the District 1 council race for now, but it spoke volumes when Mayor Cathy Murillo broke into applause as those first returns were displayed at City Hall last night.
No, Cathy wasn’t confused and cheering because arch-foe Dominguez was in first place, but because of the likelihood that late-arriving ballots yet to be counted down in Norwalk (!) will break in favor of Gutierrez, whom she endorsed and for whom she campaigned hard.
Running as the born-and-raised candidate of the Eastside, Alejandra benefitted from a low-profile, family and friend network of relationships that may have attracted some occasional voters; as the favorite of the Democratic Party, whose leadership loathes Jason, she profited from the volunteers, precinct walkers and other grassroots organizational resources stemming from her endorsement. Taken together, these two factors suggest late ballots will favor her.
Not the year of the woman. The conventional wisdom was that Teri Jory would benefit in the wide-open, five-person race in the Mesa’s District 2 from a) grassroots support owing to her leadership of the Mesa neighborhood association and b) her status as the only woman in the contest, with backing from former Supe Janet Wolf, ex-mayor Marty Blum and Dem Women club president Christine Pizarro, among others.
This is your periodic reminder that the conventional wisdom is always wrong.
When the first results were posted, they showed Jory, expected to compete for the top spot with planning commissioner Mike Jordan, mired in third behind realtor Brian Campbell, the only Republican in the contest.
Jordan now sits in first, with a comfortable lead. By traditional measures of experience, he was by far the most qualified candidate in the race, and years of paying dues through work on thankless commissions appear to have bought him some good will. It didn't hurt that he surprisingly snagged the Dem endorsement, which paid off in organization.
Norwalk – WTF? Lots of questions to the city desk this morning about why we’re hung up waiting for several days -- or more -- for final tallies as Santa Barbara’s votes are tallied by L.A. County officials in, um, the garden spot of Norwalk.
Two reasons: 1) Like local governments around the state, Santa Barbara is moving away from odd-year elections and the vendor with whom the city historically worked has, uh, gone out of business; 2) SB County is in the process of upgrading their tech systems and were out of position to handle the job. You could look it up.
Images: The Morning After (best-of-stories-etc.blogspot.com); Alejandra Gutierrez; Mike Jordan; Norwalk, Fabulous Norwalk.