By Miriam Raftery
November 27, 2016 (Lemon Grove) — On election night, George Gastil held a lead over Racquel Vasquez in the Lemon Mayoral race. But by morning, Vasquez was on top. Her margin has now grown go 120 votes, close to 1%.
On Saturday, Gastil posted on Facebook, “There are still some provisional ballots being counted, but not enough to make a difference. (You can see the latest results for races at Registrar of Voters website, sdvote.com.) The early absentee votes went more for me, and the later absentee and poll votes went more for Vasquez. It was an energetic and positive campaign, with a record number of people voting in a Lemon Grove Mayoral election. I called Racquel Vasquez and congratulated her.”
Vasquez took a more cautious approach, posting on Facebook, “Friends, thank you for your continued support and patience during this long election season. Honestly, my heart is feeling the love... I just wanted to let you know that we are leading in the count today with 120 votes and hope this trend continues. We think there may be approximately 300 more votes out there that have not been counted. Until then, I am humble and grateful for your support and the opportunity to run for Mayor of Lemon Grove.”
Gastil has held office in Lemon Grove since 1998, when he was elected to serve on the Lemon Grove School Board before winning a City Council seat in 2008.
Vasquez was recruited by Gastil to run for the Council before challenging him for mayor. She works full-time in communication for construction projects in the City of San Diego. She was the first African-American woman elected to the Council in this diverse community and will be the first female African-American mayor in San Diego County.
A common theme of her campaign and her statements from the Council dais is her goal of improving the quality of life for Lemon Grove residents and making Lemon Grove a “world-class city.” She is also the founder of Thrive Lemon Grove.
Councilmember Jerry Jones has voiced a commitment to help the new Mayor succeed, but also voiced concern over potential conflict of interest due to Vasquez having a full-time job with the City of San Diego. “Whatever our differences, I am committed to the success of Lemon Grove and that means the success of the Mayor and council,” he posted on Facebook, adding “How this conflict of interest is handled is initially up to the incoming Mayor.”
The Registrar of Voters has until December 8th to certify the final election results.