East County Mayors win reelection; new faces join councils in Lemon Grove and Santee
By Lola Sherman and Miriam Raftery
Photos by Mary Paulet and Miriam Raftery
November 2, 2010 (San Diego) -- Not too much changed on the county's political landscape in Tuesday's election. Incumbents and candidates with a great deal of name recognition, be they Republican or Democrat, fared well.
In the county's five Congressional districts, Republican incumbents Brian Bilbray, Duncan Hunter, and Darrell Issa appeared headed for re-election, as did Democratic incumbents Bob Filner and Susan Davis.
Assemblyman Joel Anderson won election to the 36th State Senate over teacher Paul Clay, weathering controversy over FPPC fines and returned campaign donations that were found to violate state limits.
Santee Councilman Brian Jones won election to Anderson’s former Assembly seat in the 77th, beating out Mark Hanson, a Cedar Fire survivor and educator.
In the 75th Assembly District, Republican incumbent Nathan Fletcher was winning handily late Tuesday night with 61 percent of the vote while in the 76th Assembly District, Democrat Toni Atkins, a former San Diego city councilwoman, was carrying 55.5 percent of the vote.
Democratic Assemblymember Marty Block similarly won an easy victory in the 78th Assembly District. "I am looking forward to going back to Sacramento and working with Governor Jerry Brown," he told Democrats gathered at the W Hotel to celebrate their wins in California.
On the County Board of Supervisors, incumbents Bill Horn and Ron Roberts were leading their competitors by substantial margins.
Even Bilbray's son, Brian P. Bilbray, 25, was leading in the race for a council seat in Imperial Beach, where his father once was mayor.
Bilbray Sr. was considered the most vulnerable of the pack of incumbents, but the low-key mood of challenger Francine Busby at her house party in Cardiff election night to honor her supporters quickly told the tale of the election results. Bilbray was ahead by roughly 60 percent to 40 percent as of midnight.
It's too early to say for sure if Busby will try again after being defeated by Bilbray for the third time. But she said, “I've done my part.”
Mayoral and City Council races also were favoring incumbents. La Mesa Mayor Art Madrid is leading challenger Lothian by 52-58% with 47.5% of the vote counted. Incumbents Mark Arapostathis and Ernest Ewin appear headed for victory, with Democrat Patrick Dean in third place out of a field of five candidates.
With 79.2% of votes counted, El Cajon Mayor Mark Lewis has more than 40% of the vote in a five-way race; Todd Moore is in second with 32%. Incumbent El Cajon Councilman Gary Kendrick breezed to an easy win over two challengers.
Republicans did pick up a seat in Lemon Grove with election of challenger Howard Cook to City Council. Jerry Jones, an incumbent Democrat, won reelection as well.
In Escondido, Councilman Sam Abed apparently beat out Councilman Dick Daniels for the mayor's job and former Mayor Lori Holt Pfeiler appeared poised to grab a council seat, along with incumbent Marie Waldron.
Abed, Waldron and Councilman Ed Gallo, locked in a close race with Pfeiler for the second available council seat, had taken a strong stand on illegal immigration, seeking in 2006 to prohibit landlords from renting to undocumented persons and proposing a ban on overnight street parking in hopes of cutting down the number of residents per household. Neither plan came to fruition.
In Santee, former Chamber of Commerce President Rob McNellis won the most votes, with incumbent John Minto and John Ryan, all Republicans, leading with 89.7% of votes tallied.
In Poway, Don Higginson had a lead of more than a dozen percentage points over challenger Nick Stavros, and incumbent John Mullin was ahead in the race for a council seat. It was too close to call between Pete Babich and David Grosch for the other council seat with incumbent Carl Kruse down in the pack.