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Escobedo leads in Santa Maria City Council District 1 race

Escobedo leads in Santa Maria City Council District 1 race

A four-way race for the Santa Maria City Council District 1 seat saw challenger Carlos Escobedo in the lead Tuesday night in the first round of unofficial results, garnering 1,367 votes for 43.58% of ballots counted with three of seven precincts reporting. 

As results trickled in, Escobedo was chased by challenger Osvaldo Sotelo, who garnered 1,046 votes for 33.34%. Challenger Brian Billones gathered 376 votes for 11.99%, followed by challenger Christopher Diaz coming in with 323 votes for 10.3%. 

Incumbent Mike Cordero ran unopposed for the available District 2 seat, and will continue his position on the City Council. He earned 3,178 votes for 96.63%. 

If his lead remains when election results are certified, Escobedo will serve as the first District 1 representative on the City Council, in what will be the city’s first year with four district representatives. Councilwomen Etta Waterfield and Gloria Soto were elected in 2018 to districts 4 and 3. 

At a viewing party at Maya Restaurant, Escobedo expressed his thanks to voters and those who worked on the campaign. 

"The results look good, but apart from the results, I feel happy, I feel proud of the team and the campaign we put together," he said. "I want to say thank you, thank you everybody who has been a part of this campaign. It took this whole team, and people that are behind the scenes."

The city approved a resolution to move from at-large voting toward district-based elections in 2017, following a threat of litigation based on alleged violations of the California Voting Rights Act in the city's at-large elections.

Under Santa Maria council district guidelines, candidates are required to live in the district they represent. Current City Councilman Michael Moats, who holds what will become the District 1 seat, was restricted from running again because he does not live in the district. 

Despite representing different districts, all councilmembers will still be responsible for governing as one body and making decisions in the best interests of the whole city. 

First announcing his candidacy in May, Open Streets organizer Escobedo ran on a platform focusing on affordable housing, youth recreation and small business success. He said he is eager to represent the residents in District 1 who have long been left behind in city policy decisions. 

Election results remain unofficial until they are certified by election officials over the coming days.

Updated election results can be found on santamariatimes.com

Election 2020: Results stories, photos and profiles from local races

We will be updating our results page throughout Election Night and until the votes are made official. Go through this collection of our stories covering the local city council, mayoral and school board races.

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Santa Maria City Reporter

Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Laura Place covers city government, policy and elections in Santa Maria and Santa Barbara County. Follow her on Twitter @itslaurasplace

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