No Changes in Election Winners

Written by Neil Farrell

Neil has been a journalist covering the Estero Bay Area for over 27 years. He’s won numerous journalism awards in several different categories over his career.

November 19, 2020

As ballot counting in San Luis Obispo County winds down, the Morro Bay Mayor’s race has tightened considerably, while there’ve been lesser changes in the race for two council seats.

The count as of Nov. 9 had Mayor John Headding leading challenger John Weiss 50.83% to 49.17%, with the vote count standing at 3,387 for Headding to 3,277 for Weiss, a difference of 110 votes between them in a rematch from the 2018 election.
On Election Night, Headding led Weiss by 290 votes — 2,764 to 2,474 (52.76% to 47.22%).
In Morro Bay as of the 12th, there were 77 vote-by-mail and 73 provisional ballots left. Weiss would have to greatly dominate those final ballots to pull out a Cinderella-story, upset win.

In any event, this is shaping up to be among the closest mayoral elections in town history. In 2018, the same two men battled it out to a 52% for Headding and 48% for Weiss split decision.

Councilman Robert “Red” Davis lost a little ground on his Election Night lead but looks to be heading for a second 4-year term. Davis had 28.02% (2,528 votes) at the end of the night on Nov. 3 and on Nov. 12, he stood at 27.64% (3,132).
Laurel Barton has also held onto the second council seat as she also dropped a hair percentage-wise going from 27.82% to 26.71% (2,510 vs. 3,027) in the latest count before deadline.

Challenger, Betty Winholtz gained some ground going from 22.56% Election Night (2,035) to 23.18% and 2,627 votes.
Richard Sadowski too went up a little going from 21.59% and 1,948 votes to 22.47% and 2,546 votes as of the 12th.
But with just 150 votes left to count, Winholtz’ and Sadowski’s runs have come up short.

In the most important race in Morro Bay, the Measure E-20 sales tax increase was approved with 58.57% “Yes” to 41.43% “No” (4,010 votes to 2,837), with 6,499 total votes counted, some 88.01% of the registered voters.

So in 2021 Morro Bay’s local sales tax rate will go from one-half percent to 1.5 percent, a change that is anticipated to bring into the city treasury about $2 million a year, given a normal economy and not one locked down by the coronavirus pandemic response.
Incumbent 24th District Congressman Salud Carbajal outpaced challenger Andy Caldwell in SLO County 53.80% (81,699) to 46.20% (70,156). The 24th District also includes Santa Barbara County and a slice of coastal Ventura County, a map that could be redrawn soon, now that the Census is winding down and redistricting to come soon.

Caldwell closed the Election Night gap considerably going from being down 58.43% to 41.57% to the final 53.8-46.2.
In the Cayucos Sanitary District, Hannah Millar and Bob Enns retained their seats against challenger, John Drayer. The scorecard was Millar 43.86% and 1,096 votes; Enns 40.98% and 1,024; and Drayer 15.17%, 379.
Some 1,796 votes were cast out of 2,057 registered voters, an 87.31% turnout. Also, 1,697 voters mailed in ballots and 99 voted in person.

In the Cambria CSD race, Harry Farmer, Karen Dean and Tom Gray appear to have won the three open seats. Farmer had 30.16% and 2,486 votes; Dean got 27.21% and 2,243; with Gray getting 22.47%, 1,852. David Pierson finished out of the running but had a pretty good showing with 20.15% of the votes (1,661).

Cambria CSD race had 4,044 votes cast of the 4,498 voters, 89.91%. Some 3,794 mailed in ballots and 250 voted in person.
If the numbers seem wonky, it’s because in Cambria, 3,809 ballots didn’t have all three possible votes marked, so-called under-votes (the race was “vote for 3”).

John Laird was SLO County’s pick for State Senate in the 17th District race with Vicki Nohrden. Laird took 78,197 votes (52.63%) to Nohrden’s 47.37% (70,371). Laird’s victory here resounded throughout the 17th District and he will return to the State Legislature after a tenure as Resources Secretary.

And Jordan Cunningham will return to the State Assembly winning re-election to the 35th District seat over challenger Dawn Addis. Cunningham had 54.64% of the votes (82,206) to Addis’ 45.36% (68,255).
Addis remains on the Morro Bay City Council where she has 2-more years before her term comes up again. The 34th District seat will also be up again.

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