Newest vote release solidifies City Council election results

November 19, 2010
Santa Paula City Council

More votes released by the Ventura County Elections Division this week show the outcome of the Santa Paula City Council race has not changed.

And the latest release also pushed the turnout of Ventura County voters who turned in a ballot to 61.9 percent, a number higher than the projected 55 percent to 60 percent turnout.

Elections Division staff has been slugging their way through approximately 11,000 provisional ballots, those needing closer scrutiny that must go through a number of checks before being added to voter totals. Following the November 2 General Election there were about 28,000 absentee ballots that arrived before the close of poll deadline, but too late to be included in the first counts.

The latest Elections Office release of November 17 at about 5 p.m. solidified that council incumbents Ralph Fernandez and Bob Gonzales will be back for their second terms, and former councilman Rick Cook - who lost his third bid for a four-year council term in 2006 - will be back on the dais. Council incumbent Dr. Gabino Aguirre declined to seek a third council term.

Gonzales, a retired police chief, continues to lead with 3,859 votes, 28.86 percent of the total. Fernandez, an architect and Ventura College instructor, has 3,128 votes, 23.39 percent of the total. Cook, a retired Santa Paula Police Department sergeant and Ventura County Public Defender’s Office senior investigator, has 2,536 votes, 18.97 percent of the total.

Picking up votes but still trailing are first time council candidates Duane Ashby and Rita Stafford. Ashby has 2,233 votes, 16.70 percent of the total, and Stafford has 1,568 votes, 11.73 percent.

In all, 13,371 votes have been counted in the council race, with 47 voters opting to write in their own candidate.

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