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0.1%: OC’s Most Likely Recounts

Posted by Chris Nguyen on November 18, 2014

The Registrar of Voters finished counting last night and will certify the election today.  With OC’s electronic ballots and optical scan vote-by-mail/paper ballots, counts are quite accurate, and it would be difficult to move the needle more than 0.1% in a recount.  There are three races that are within that 0.1% margin in Orange County:

Costa Mesa is the epitome of a deeply divided city.  With a 3-2 conservative majority Council, neither conservatives or liberals have been able to pull off a clean sweep in that city in any given election year, and city council elections are frequently close. Mayor Jim Righeimer (R) beat former Councilman Jay Humphrey (D) by 0.1%, or 47 votes.  You can bet on a recount here.  In a city this divided with this close a margin, it doesn’t matter who was ahead, the side that was 47 votes behind would pay for a recount.  Coming into this election, many considered this the third most important City Council election in Orange County, behind only Anaheim and Irvine.

CITY OF COSTA MESA Member, City Council
Number To Vote For: 2
Completed Precincts: 70 of 70
Vote Count Percentage
KATRINA FOLEY 9,346 26.5%
* JIM RIGHEIMER 7,524 21.3%
JAY HUMPHREY 7,477 21.2%
LEE RAMOS 5,305 15.0%
TONY CAPITELLI 1,856 5.3%
AL MELONE 1,470 4.2%
RITA LOUISE SIMPSON 1,200 3.4%
CHRISTOPHER SCOTT BUNYAN 1,108 3.1%

* Indicates Incumbent Candidate, if any

In the Garden Grove Mayor’s race, three Democrats fought it out.  Garden Grove Unified School District Trustee Bao Nguyen brought incumbent Mayor Bruce Broadwater to a statistical tie of 42.4% but beat him by 15 votes.  With a statistical tie, this is Orange County’s closest race.

Nguyen, a 34-year-old union organizer, is a full 32 years younger than the 76-year-old incumbent.  (Nguyen’s day job is as an organizer for the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees Local 3930.)  For Republicans, an up-and-coming 34-year-old Vietnamese Democrat is a much greater long-term threat than a nearly-retired 76-year-old white Democrat in the Garden Mayor’s seat.  Broadwater is unlikely to run for anything other than Mayor in the future.  Nguyen sits in the 1st Supervisorial District, 34th Senate District, and 47th Congressional District.  While Senator-Elect Janet Nguyen should be able to defeat Bao Nguyen in any of those races, she can’t personally hold all three seats.

While Janet Nguyen is now the highest ranking Vietnamese American elected official in the country, Bao Nguyen will be the first Vietnamese American Mayor of a city with over 100,000 people – unless Broadwater can prevail in a recount.  (For the record, Senator-Elect Janet Nguyen and Mayor-Elect Bao Nguyen are not related to each other, and neither of them are related to me.  The last name Nguyen is held by 36% of Vietnamese people.)

CITY OF GARDEN GROVE Mayor
Completed Precincts: 87 of 87
Vote Count Percentage
BAO NGUYEN 11,785 42.4%
* BRUCE ALLAN BROADWATER 11,770 42.4%
ALBERT AYALA 4,234 15.2%

* Indicates Incumbent Candidate, if any

In the quietest close race in Orange County, Carol A. Moore beat Rae C. Tso by 0.1% for Laguna Woods City Council in a battle between two candidates registered to vote as No Party Preference.  Moore is beating Tso by 16 votes.  Tso said publicly yesterday that she will not seek a recount.

Those following the Laguna Woods politics have indicated that Moore supports replacing the management company that runs the homeowners association in Laguna Woods (remember that Laguna Woods has one homeowners association that encompasses 90%+ of the homes in the city).  This is almost analogous to replacing the city staff after an election in any other city in Orange County.  No word on if the management company or another third party will seek a recount since Tso won’t seek one.

CITY OF LAGUNA WOODS Member, City Council
Number To Vote For: 2
Completed Precincts: 16 of 16
Vote Count Percentage
* BERT HACK 3,419 25.3%
CAROL A. MOORE 2,963 21.9%
RAE C. TSO 2,947 21.8%
AL RODDAN 1,473 10.9%
MARK L. MONIN 1,403 10.4%
DAVID RUSSELL OHRN 1,323 9.8%

* Indicates Incumbent Candidate, if any

It is highly unlikely anyone can move the needle by more than 0.1% in a recount.  However, if there’s a place that will try, it may well be the City of Anaheim, which has a pair of 0.2% races.

In the Anaheim City Council race, James D. Vanderbilt beat Gail Eastman by 0.2%, or 203 votes.  While Democrats had an intraparty battle for Garden Grove Mayor, Republicans had an intraparty battle for Anaheim City Council.

Like Costa Mesa, Anaheim is a deeply divided city.  Mayor Tom Tait, the leader of the Council minority, won re-election with 53.4% of the vote, a 33% victory over his closest challenger former Councilwoman Lorri Galloway.  Falling 1% behind Galloway is Councilwoman Lucille Kring, who is a member of the Council majority.  Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray, the leader of the Council majority, was the top vote-getter in her bid for re-election to the City Council.  Vanderbilt was backed by Tait and joins the Council minority while the narrowly-defeated Eastman was part of the Council majority.  This election result gives Anaheim a 3-2 council.

When the voters narrowly deliver a 3-2 Council, give the minority Mayor a landslide re-election, and make the majority Mayor Pro Tem the top vote-getter in the City Council race, that is truly a closely-divided city.

CITY OF ANAHEIM Member, City Council
Number To Vote For: 2
Completed Precincts: 147 of 147
Vote Count Percentage
* KRIS MURRAY 16,207 20.7%
JAMES D. VANDERBILT 15,541 19.8%
* GAIL EASTMAN 15,338 19.6%
JOSE F. MORENO (1) 11,521 14.7%
DOUG PETTIBONE 7,309 9.3%
JERRY O’KEEFE 6,244 8.0%
DONNA MICHELLE ACEVEDO 3,188 4.1%
JOSE MORENO (2) 2,976 3.8%

* Indicates Incumbent Candidate, if any

In the close race the press (but not the bloggers) forgot, Anaheim’s obscure Measure N has lost by 0.2% or 122 votes.  Does anyone care enough to bother with a difficult recount for an obscure ballot measure?  If there’s a recount in the Anaheim City Council race, can a Measure N recount piggy back on it?

N-City of Anaheim, Local Services Measure
Completed Precincts: 147 of 147
Vote Count Percentage
Yes 21,413 49.9%
No 21,535 50.1%

* Indicates Incumbent Candidate, if any

Three cities ended up with 0.3% margins in their city council races.  Recounts are even further out of reach for these three cities.

In a Republican intraparty battle for Dana Point City Council, Joe Muller beat Jody Payne by 0.3%, or 61 votes. The Dana Point Council was in for a make over this year, with majority Councilmember Steve Weinberg (D) termed out, majority Mayor Lisa Bartlett (R) elected to the Board of Supervisors, and minority Councilmember Bill Brough (R) elected to the State Assembly.

Top vote-getter John Tomlinson (R) was endorsed by both remaining Councilmen, majority member Scott Schoeffel (R) and minority member Carlos Olvera (R).  Olvera also endorsed Richard A. Viczorek (R) who was elected in the second spot.  In fact, Olvera goes from being in the minority on a 3-2 Council to leading a 4-1 supermajority (or 3-2 majority, depending on how one interprets Tomlinson), with his preferred candidate Muller (R) defeating Schoeffel’s preferred candidate, Payne (R).

Dana Point Residents for Responsible Redevelopment (DPRRR) endorsed Payne (R), Harold Kaufman (R), and Chuck Rathbone (R).  With a similar set of priorities to Yorba Linda Residents for Responsible Redevelopment (YLRRR), who managed to lose seats, falling into a 4-1 superminority in Yorba Linda, it’s clear voters are sending RRR packing across the County.

CITY OF DANA POINT Member, City Council
Number To Vote For: 3
Completed Precincts: 30 of 30
Vote Count Percentage
JOHN TOMLINSON 3,229 13.5%
RICHARD A. VICZOREK 3,117 13.0%
JOE MULLER 3,010 12.6%
JODY PAYNE 2,949 12.3%
ALAN WICKSTROM 2,935 12.3%
NANCY JENKINS 2,714 11.4%
HAROLD R. KAUFMAN 2,368 9.9%
ROY “RYAN” DIVEL IV 1,962 8.2%
CHUCK RATHBONE 1,617 6.8%

* Indicates Incumbent Candidate, if any

Coming into this year’s elections, it was long said that Anaheim and Irvine were the two most important Council races.  While Anaheim was an intraparty Republican battle, Irvine is an old-fashioned Republican vs. Democrat party-line contest.  Republican Mayor Pro Tem Jeffrey Lalloway beat Democrat Melissa Fox by 0.3%, or 210 votes.  Unlike in Anaheim, this was not make the Council more divided.  Indeed, Lalloway’s re-election ensures a 4-1 supermajority in Irvine.  Had Fox been elected, it would have simply kept the 3-2 status quo split.  Republican Lynn Schott unseated long-time Councilman Larry Agran (D), a former candidate for President of the United States.  Agran has been either Mayor or City Councilmember in Irvine for 28 of the last 36 years, being out of office from 1990 to 1998 (he ran for President in 1992).  Recall that the City of Irvine is only 43 years old.  Agran has been Mayor or Council member for 65% of Irvine’s existence.

CITY OF IRVINE Member, City Council
Number To Vote For: 2
Completed Precincts: 109 of 109
Vote Count Percentage
LYNN SCHOTT 16,814 22.9%
* JEFFREY LALLOWAY 16,749 22.8%
MELISSA FOX 16,539 22.5%
* LARRY AGRAN 14,403 19.6%
EVAN CHEMERS 8,966 12.2%

* Indicates Incumbent Candidate, if any

In the Fountain Valley School District, Jim Cunneen (R) beat Gary Stine (D) by 0.3%, or 83 votes.

FOUNTAIN VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT Governing Board Member
Number To Vote For: 3
Completed Precincts: 31 of 31
Vote Count Percentage
* SANDRA CRANDALL 9,208 31.6%
LISA SCHULTZ 7,583 26.0%
JIM CUNNEEN 6,231 21.4%
GARY STINE 6,148 21.1%

* Indicates Incumbent Candidate, if any

In the Orange Unified School District, the $296 million Measure K bond fell short of 55% vote threshold by 0.4% or 191 votes.  This is the third bond to fail in OUSD since two bonds were defeated in 2004, the November 2004 achieved the identical 54.6% that the November 2014 bond achieved.  The March 2004 bond failed to even reach 50%.

K-Orange Unified School District, Critical Upgrades and Repairs for Quality High Schools
Completed Precincts: 164 of 164
Vote Count Percentage
Bonds – Yes 25,992 54.6%
Bonds – No 21,613 45.4%

In the Centralia School District, former Trustee Art Montez (D) beat Kevin Sequeira (R) by 0.6%, or 128 votes.  Centralia voters were clearly in an anti-incumbent mood, as can be seen how the candidates placed.  20-year-old newcomer Connor Traut (D), the second coming of Jordan Brandman, was the top vote-getter.  La Palma Councilman Henry Charoen (R) came in second.  Former Trustees Montez (D) and Sequeira (R) came in third and fourth.  Sitting Trustee Irv Trinkle (R) came in dead last.

CENTRALIA SCHOOL DISTRICT Governing Board Member
Number To Vote For: 3
Completed Precincts: 36 of 36
Vote Count Percentage
CONNOR TRAUT 4,764 25.1%
HENRY CHAROEN 3,939 20.8%
ART MONTEZ 3,763 19.8%
KEVIN SEQUEIRA 3,635 19.2%
* IRV TRINKLE 2,862 15.1%

* Indicates Incumbent Candidate, if any

In the Ocean View School District, Joseph A. Gaglione (R) beat incumbent Tracy Pellman (R) by 0.6%.  In a bizarre race, incumbents John Briscoe (R) and Pellman (R) each accused each other of being secretly backed by the union as their third candidate while the union openly backed Gaglione (R) and Jack Souders (R).  Libertarian former Trustee Norm Westwell and American Independent incumbent Trustee John Ortiz came in the last two spots.

OCEAN VIEW SCHOOL DISTRICT Governing Board Member
Number To Vote For: 3
Completed Precincts: 53 of 53
Vote Count Percentage
JACK C. SOUDERS 10,544 22.3%
* JOHN BRISCOE 8,909 18.8%
JOSEPH A. GAGLIONE 8,197 17.3%
* TRACY PELLMAN 7,898 16.7%
NORM WESTWELL 6,427 13.6%
* JOHN R. ORTIZ 5,339 11.3%

* Indicates Incumbent Candidate, if any

Finally, the $574-million North Orange County Community College District’s Measure J bond actually still counting because that district straddles into LA County.  LA County expects to certify the election on Friday.  Measure J is at exactly the 55.0% bond threshold and leads by 8 votes.

In Orange County:

J-North Orange County Community College District, Fullerton/Cypress Colleges Bond Measure
Completed Precincts: 522 of 522
Vote Count Percentage
Bonds – Yes 82,751 55.1%
Bonds – No 67,420 44.9%

In LA County:

NO ORANGE CO COMM COLL SP MEASURE J
Los Angeles County Results Only

Measure J Votes Percent
COLLEGE IMPROVEMENT BONDS
YES 1,946 51.06
NO 1,865 48.94
Registration 11,729
Precincts Reporting* 16
Total Precincts 16

Combined total:

Measure J Votes Percent
Yes 84,697 55.00%
No 69,285 45.00%

Technically, “Yes” is at 55.004481043238820121832421971399% while “No” is at 44.995518956761179878167578028601%.

Barring a huge swing in LA, I would imagine Measure J will go to recount.

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