One of the big surprises in this local election is just how soundly sitting Santa Cruz County Supervisor Greg Caput has defeated former Watsonville Police Chief Terry Medina in the 4th district race.
It wasn’t quite the landslide other incumbents had pulled off in recent years—1st District Supervisor John Leopold defeated two challengers outright in June 2012 with 70 percent of the vote. Still, this was convincing.
So far, Caput has received 61 percent of the vote in his runoff election against Medina. Although results are still being tallied, Caput leads by more than 1,000 votes. This may serve as proof that a candidate doesn’t need big endorsements or even an up-to-date website to win an election—provided they’re able to win over an entire community with their everyman charm.
There were other surprises in South County. Candidates Jimmy Dutra and Rebecca Garcia appear to have unseated 4th District City Councilmember Eduardo Montesino and 5th District City Councilmember Daniel Dodge, respectively. Again, results are still coming in.
It’s possible that mail-in ballots won’t be all tallied until early next week, according to a timeline on the county’s election website. County Clerk Gail Pellerin estimates there are more than 13,000 unprocessed vote-by-mail ballots and 3,450 provisional ballots remaining to be counted.
In the Santa Cruz City Council race for three seats, Gemma program director Cynthia Chase appears to have come in first, followed by Santa Cruz City Councilmember David Terrazas, and Richelle Noroyan, a UCSC employee. Self-defense instructor Leonie Sherman trails Noroyan by 500 votes.
One closely watched race is Measure M, which proposes an increase in transient occupancy tax from 10 to 11 percent. It is basically identical to the ones passed without any opposition in both Santa Cruz County and the city of Santa Cruz in November 2012. Capitola’s Measure M, though, is losing with just 45 percent in support.
Also in Capitola, sitting City Councilmembers Stephanie Harlan and Michael Termani were easily re-elected. Former sheriff officer Joe Clarke is in the lead for the third spot, followed by engineer Jacques Bertrand.
Other candidates cruising to re-election include Congressman Sam Farr, Assemblymember Mark Stone, Assemblymember Luis Alejo, and Scotts Valley City Councilmembers Jim Reed and Stephany Aguilar.
Some of the more interesting elections, though, have been the water races.
For the Soquel Creek Water District, the election is, in many ways, a referendum on the district’s conservation-heavy approach to the water shortage. The current board seems to have won a small victory. Board members Rick Meyer and Bruce Jaffe are both prevailing in their re-election bids. Bill McGowan, who ran as part of a three-man slate supported by the business community and Supervisor Zach Friend, is in the lead for the third seat. But environmentalist Carla Christensen, the only candidate who supports a moratorium on new water hookups, is just seven votes behind him.
In the San Lorenzo Valley Water District (SLVWD) race, everyone on board member Larry Prather’s three-person slate is doing well… except for Prather, himself. Eric Hammer and Gene Ratcliffe appear poised to take two of the three open seats. Chuck Baughman is in second. Prather is in last out of the six candidates.
Lastly in the Lompico Water District race, candidates John Schneider and Merrie Schaller, both of whom support a merge with SLVWD, are soundly defeating the candidates who oppose the merge.
For the most up to date election data, visit votescount.com.