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Editor’s note: The numbers and results here are still unofficial and will change until Dec. 7 when the Secretary of State has completed the canvassing of ballots. 

2018 City Council Unofficial Election Results

(28 of 28 precincts reporting)

Dan Bane: 8,242 (16.6%)
Laura Ferguson: 5,939 (12%)
*Kathy Ward: 5,448 (11%)
Gene W. James: 5,066 (10.2%)
Wayne Eggleston: 4,058 (8.2%)
Bernie Wohlfarth: 3,877 (7.8%)
Don Brown: 3,721 (7.5%)
Jackson Hinkle: 3,639 (7.3%)
Jake Rybczyk: 3,407 (6.9%)
Mikii Rathmann: 2,654 (5.4%)
Ed Ward: 2,161 (4.4%)
Tiffany Joy Robson Leet: 1,380 (2.8%)


San Clemente Measure V (Districted Elections)
(28 of 28 precincts reporting)

No: 12,251 (70.8%)
Yes: 5,057 (29.2%)

San Clemente Measure W (Hotel Tax Increase)
(28 of 28 precincts reporting)

No: 9,910 (55.2 %)
Yes: 8.044 (44.8 %)

 Orange County Sheriff
(1,546 of 1,546 precincts reporting)

Don Barnes: 321,214 (57.1%)
Duke Nguyen: 240,879 (42.9%)

District Attorney
(1,546 of 1,546 precincts reporting)

Todd Spitzer: 290,363 (52.9%)
* Tony Rackauckas: 258,887 (47.1%)

State Assembly, 73rd District
(259 of 259 precincts partially reporting)

 * William “Bill” Brough, Republican: 76,123 (58.3%)
Scott Rhinehart, Democrat: 54,393 (41.7%)

State Senate, 36th District
(464 of 623 precincts partially reporting)

*Patricia “Pat” Bates, Republican: 117,783 (54.9%)
Marggie Castellano, Democrat: 96,590 (45.1%)

Results provided were gathered from the Orange County Registrar of Voters and California Secretary of State’s Office. Results could change between now and Dec. 7.

Bane takes top spot in City Council race as Ferguson and Ward follow 

By Eric Heinz

City Council will change significantly starting in 2019.

Dan Bane handily won a seat on city council after failing to do so by a slim margin in 2016. Bane, an environmental attorney who—besides opposing the toll road and issues related to homelessness—had been at odds with some members of the current city council, most notably issues related to districting, although Bane said during his campaign he would welcome a vote of confidence from residents and not a council action to force it upon them.

“I’m humbled and grateful for the opportunity to serve San Clemente as your next councilmember,” Bane said in an email to the San Clemente Times on Wednesday morning. “The election results are clear—our residents want change. They want positive, solutions-based leadership and I am excited to bring that to our city council. I look forward to working together with Steve Swartz, Chris Hamm, Laura Ferguson and Kathy Ward to make that happen.  Congratulations to all the candidates who ran; win or lose, their ideas and love of San Clemente were inspiring, and I am grateful for their efforts and willingness to serve.”

Kathy Ward appears to have just edged Gene W. James for the third seat. Ward, the incumbent councilmember, has vigorously fought against the proposed toll roads and other traffic alleviation efforts by the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) and has sat on its board as a San Clemente representative since 2015. Ward noted during her campaign that as complex as those meetings can be and the amount of committee turnover due to elections or reassignment doesn’t give newcomers much time to catch up to speed.

“I have heard this election was about change but the vote doesn’t reflect that,” Ward stated in a letter to SC Times. “There were always going to be two new people on the city council if I was re-elected. I am happy the residents saw it as an advantage for me to continue as their councilwoman.”

Since the latest proposals were released in 2016, Ward made it her mission to stop the TCA and while serving as mayor in 2017 attended and hosted several gatherings to oppose the toll roads.

“I am very proud of the work the city has done in the last four years. We took on very serious issues to our residents, such as sober living homes and vacation rentals,” Ward said. “We also took on challenging the closing of our hospital and we are fighting to preserve the zoning of our medical corridor in our city planning.”

Ward also mentioned the city has completed studies of its departments and “re-tooled” it in some sectors, and it has tried to make improvements to permitting process.

First-time candidate Laura Ferguson, once the public information officer of the city, had campaigned by criticizing a lack of transparency from the city. She left the position in 2017 after an unsuccessful campaign for Capistrano Unified School District in District 3. Ferguson’s fortitude in fighting against school district tax zones and other government endeavors propelled the votes for her from Talega that she basically needed to get on to the council, let alone place higher than a popular incumbent, according to results from the Orange County Registrar.

“I am so grateful to the voters for paying attention, I really am, and just trusting me to lead our city,” Ferguson said. “It’s in my blood to serve our city and make it better,” Ferguson said on Wednesday afternoon.

Ferguson said praised the team of friends who helped her engineer a relatively inexpensive campaign across the city. She also said she wants to work on projects to make public documents easier to access by the public.

“Public requests have increased a lot of in the last years, and I know that because I worked there for 18 and a half years, and it is costly,” Ferguson said. “We need to communicate with our residents and not hide from them, implement a sunshine ordinance and that would be really timely for the city and embraced by our community.”

Across San Clemente, voter turnout was primarily higher than it was in the 2014 mid-term election. Certain precincts were showing turnout at 5 to 10 percent higher.

Official numbers are not expected to be certified until Dec. 7, but the unofficial results for the city council election are likely not to shift too much during canvassing of the ballot.

Photo Gallery

Both measures specific to San Clemente failed to pass

Changing the voting from at-large elections to district-based elections was overwhelmingly voted against, 28 percent voting yes and 72 percent voting no. In the final days leading up to the election, the argument of those in favor, or at least comfortable with, districted elections said the city might be sued anyway by organizations claiming California Voter Rights Act infringements that don’t provide an avenue for minority candidates.

People against districted elections said San Clemente may not even qualify for such a lawsuit due to its current minority populations.

Measure W, which would have increased the hotel guest tax from 10 percent to 12.5 percent, was slated as a more palatable option compared to the same measure in 2016, which would have increased the tax to 13 percent. It lost by eight votes.

But this year’s measure was rejected thoroughly, failing to pass by about an 11 percent margin. The revenue from the tax could have been used to fund additional sheriff’s deputies, fire protection services and help fund maintenance on beaches and parks, according to the ballot statement.

Old guard remains strong

It wasn’t the snoozer, inevitable outcome for Assemblymember Bill Brough, R-73, or for State Sen. Patricia Bates, R-36, this time around, but both representatives won their elections by double-digit percentage margins.

Marggie Castellano, who was behind about the same margin in the primary election in June, was still a candidate with whom Bates had to contend.

Brough faced a challenger in 2016 who stopped campaigning midway through, and Brough won more than 90 percent of the vote. This year, he faced a stronger opponent in Scott Rhinehart, but Brough still held on for a decisive victory Tuesday night.

Article updated 3:17 p.m. on Nov. 8 to include comments from candidate Kathy Ward and an editor’s note disclaimer.

Article updated at 4 p.m. on Nov. 7 to include candidate Laura Ferguson’s comments.

Article updated at 6:16 p.m. Nov. 7 to update unofficial numbers that continue to trickle in. 



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