For much of the night, it looked like conventional wisdom might hold. Dan Carson was running first with Gloria Partida running second, Linda Deos a close third and Ezra Beeman a surprising fourth.
But in the release after 1 am, Gloria Partida suddenly pulled ahead and when all the precincts were counted she had a 241-vote lead. Will that be enough to hold off Dan Carson for first? That’s an open question.
What seems much more concrete is that, with a 1,000-vote gap between Dan Carson and third place Linda Deos, Mr. Carson will likely be elected to the council. They will join Brett Lee who takes over as mayor in July, Will Arnold and Lucas Frerichs on the council.
The nine-person race was tough to predict for many. Ezra Beeman finished a strong fourth, just 340 votes out of third. Mary Jo Bryan, who turns 76 today, was the oldest candidate in the race, and she finished 5th with 9.1 percent, followed 8 votes back by Larry Guenther.
Eric Gudz was the youngest candidate, and they are currently in 7th, having pulled ahead of Mark West by 60 votes. Mx. Gudz may benefit from late absentees from students, but it would not appear to be enough to overcome the large lead at the top. Luis Rios as expected finished 9th, with 3.4 percent of the vote.
Among the biggest issues was housing.
“Housing was definitely on a lot of people’s minds,” Ms. Partida stated. “There were quite a few people out there who were definitely behind a No on J, but they were the minority and even they recognized that we needed more housing in Davis.”
Gloria Partida said the thing that was most important to her was economic development.
Measure H (parks) is currently passing with about 71 percent of the vote, but Measure I (roads) only has 55 percent and thus will most likely not reach the two-thirds threshold.
Ms. Partida said, “People didn’t want parcel taxes, because they would prefer economic development, and that I think is showing up in the H and I vote.”
She said of the results in the Measure I roads tax election, “That’s too bad because we definitely need the money for the streets.”
The results for Nishi and its margin did not surprise her. “I think that the demographics have changed,” she said. “I think it’s ironic that Measure R was put into place because we wanted to preserve what we had in Davis, but what it’s done is it has changed the demographics, so that the people who are now living here are the people who can afford to buy here, and they’re not from here. They don’t feel the same about preserving slow growth.”
The Vanguard spoke to Gloria Partida this morning when it was clear she would likely be elected.
“I’m really quite humbled and honored actually. It’s unbelievable to me,” she said, “I’m glad that the work I put into this campaign paid off. I’m glad that what I believe in and my values have resonated with people. It really impresses on me the need to be a good public servant.”
Dan Carson, at the time we spoke last night, was leading the field, but he was cautious. It now appears that he may finish second, which is still good enough to be seated on the council.
He told the Vanguard, “I feel very upbeat. We feel the results obviously are promising.”
Mr. Carson said the campaign walked to 10,000 doors with 16,000 voters living in those homes during the course of the campaign.
He said, “The level of support measured by the number of voters who said they would vote for me was consistently growing as the campaign went on.”
Mr. Carson said the 60-40 vote for Nishi was consistent with what they found going door to door. They would ask an open-ended question about concerns the voters had in the neighborhood and citywide.
He said that in a lot of the situations when he talked to voters, he felt like the vast majority were Yes votes.
“My sense of it was more positive (toward Nishi) than negative,” he said. “I’m not really surprised by the numbers we’ve seen.”
With Measure H appearing to pass and Measure I appearing to go down, Dan Carson said, “If I’m fortunate to be elected, we’ve estimated an $8 million per year funding gap for the city over the next 20 years. The street and roads tax would have solved $3 million of that $8 million problem. So if it fails, as it now seems to be doing, we still have an $8 million a year problem to deal. It’s still doable, but we’ll have our work cut out for us.”
Councilmember Lucas Frerichs said, “I’m not surprised (Gloria Partida) came in first at all. She has demonstrated an extended track record of effective community service, which is something Davis voters typically value.
“Whether fighting for inclusionary schooling for her disabled son, or her more recent work in founding and growing the flourishing Davis Phoenix Coalition (born out of a personal tragedy), or her service as a city commissioner, or being named as a recent Citizen of the Year, Gloria is constantly striving to bring out the best in Davis.”
He added, “I’m looking forward to serving with Gloria (and Dan Carson) as colleagues, and seeing what this new body can accomplish together!”
Outgoing Mayor Robb Davis said, “With Dan and Gloria we have two community members who, in their unique ways and based on their unique experiences and gifts, have already been serving the community of Davis. They bring those gifts and perspectives to an already solid City Council and I believe they will help continue to make decisions that serve the needs of the community of Davis. I am very happy for them and for our City.”
—David M. Greenwald reporting