Editor’s Note: This story has been updated from its initial version published on Friday afternoon, Dec. 2.
By Collin Breaux
With the midterm elections in the rear-view mirror, the Orange County Registrar of Voters has made the results official.
Registrar Bob Page on Dec. 2 certified the results from last month’s election, which saw a 54.7% voter turnout. On Tuesday, Dec. 6, the Orange County Board of Supervisors voted to receive and file the certified results, which next go to the Secretary of State.
“I want to thank the more than 1,600 members of the Orange County community who joined our Registrar of Voters team for this election,” Page said. “Together, we helped about 1 million voters in the county successfully exercise their right to vote in an accessible, fair, accurate, secure and transparent election.”
According to Page, a total of 994,227 ballots were cast by Orange County voters, with the bulk of them, 83.5%, representing vote-by-mail ballots returned to the Registrar’s office. Another 16.5% of the votes cast comprised ballots completed in-person at Vote Centers around the county.
Two audits were completed prior to certification and “confirmed results were correct,” according to the registrar. Voting system equipment was also tested for accuracy after the election, and the Registrar of Voters confirmed voting system software had not been modified during the election.
With the results finalized, incumbent Supervisor Katrina Foley will retain her seat on the county board after receiving 51.3% (116,105) of the votes. Her challenger, State Sen. Patricia Bates, conceded the race on Nov. 18, finishing with 110,238 (48.7%) votes.
In the State Senate race for District 38, representing San Juan Capistrano and Rancho Mission Viejo, Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear won, defeating Matt Gunderson by receiving 52.2% (190,783) of the votes, according to election results from the state. Gunderson conceded on Nov. 16.
As for the 36th State Senate District, which includes Dana Point and San Clemente, Assemblymember Janet Nguyen won in the race against Huntington Beach Councilmember Kim Carr, holding onto a strong lead with 56.9% of the vote.
Incumbent Republican Laurie Davies held on to her seat in the 74th State Assembly District with 52.6% (91,568) of the votes, while her Democratic challenger, San Clemente Mayor Pro Tem Chris Duncan, finished with 47.4% (82,630).
Blakespear, Nguyen and Davies, along with their fellow California lawmakers, were sworn into the State Legislature during a ceremony held at the State Capitol on Monday, Dec. 5.
Davies said the ceremony was nice “for those of us that were elected in 2020” since COVID-19 restrictions prohibited a ceremony at the Capitol.
“It’ll be nice to be able to experience the true ceremonial process and to be able to have our family and loved ones be there this time,” Davies had said in the days leading up to the ceremony.
“It’s a very humbling experience to know that you have the opportunity to serve your district, as well as your state, and create policy that would be beneficial to all of them,” she continued. “I’m very grateful and blessed to be able to serve for another two years.”
Blakespear has also spent her time before the upcoming legislative term saying goodbye to her role as Encinitas’ mayor and councilmember,
“It’s been the honor of my lifetime to serve as the mayor of the city where my great grandparents put down roots 100 years ago. Thank you for entrusting me with your confidence across four local elections, and last month’s fifth election to represent District 38 as your new state senator,” Blakespear said in an email sent to supporters on Monday, Dec. 5.
“Our successes in Encinitas have been about the projects we’ve built—and the community character we’ve retained,” she continued. “I’ve prioritized both of these values in my approach to governance.”
In a statement posted on Twitter, Nguyen said celebrating the ceremony with family, friends and supporters was “truly an honor.”
“I am honored and grateful for the support I received from the voters to represent 1 million constituents,” Nguyen said.
The Associated Press had previously called the race for California’s 49th Congressional District in which Rep. Mike Levin won his bid for reelection and secured the seat for another two years.
With 52.6% (153,370) of the votes, Levin defeated former San Juan Capistrano Councilmember Brian Maryott in what was their second matchup in as many elections.
The results for statewide elections will be certified by Dec. 16.
Voters in San Clemente and San Juan Capistrano this past November also decided their representatives for City Council.
In San Clemente, Victor Cabral (14.26%), Mark Enmeier (13.69%) and incumbent Councilmember Steve Knoblock (12.88%) were the top candidates for three open seats on the council’s dais. Cabral and Enmeier were sworn into office during a ceremony at San Clemente City Hall on Tuesday evening.
In San Juan Capistrano, John Campbell will be the new District 3 Councilmember after earning 49.55% (1,526) of the votes over the other two candidates—Paul Lopez and Cody Martin. Campbell is expected to be sworn into the local office on Tuesday, Dec. 13.
Michael Parham won Capistrano Unified School District’s Board of Trustees Area 2 race, garnering 10,179 (45.65%) votes and defeating opponent Kira Davis.
In CUSD’s Area 4 race, Gary Pritchard won against James Glantz and Darin Patel, earning 49.28% (9,812) of the votes. And in Area 7, incumbent Trustee Judy Bullockus defeated Jeannette Contreras with 54.28% (11,242) of the votes.
Breeana Greenberg, C. Jayden Smith and Shawn Raymundo contributed to this report.
Collin Breaux covers San Juan Capistrano and other South Orange County news as the City Editor for The Capistrano Dispatch. Before moving to California, he covered Hurricane Michael, politics and education in Panama City, Florida. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.