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The three incumbents seeking re-election to the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District board of education will keep their seats, with Tuesday night's results pushing the troika ahead of their lone challenger.

Physician Carol Karamitsos, retired Santa Barbara County sheriff's Cmdr. Dominick Palera and student affairs professional Diana Perez were vying to retain their seats against aviation professional and Santa Maria Airport District board member David Baskett.

As of 11:25 p.m. Tuesday, with 100 percent of the precincts reporting in Santa Barbara County, Karamitsos led the pack of four with 12,045 votes or 59.72 percent. Perez was second with 10,222 votes, or 50.68 percent, and Palera was in third with 9,294 votes, or 33.74 percent.

"That's great news for me," Karamitsos said when reached by phone Tuesday night. "I'm happy to be returning to the board to continue our work."

Perez said she was excited and grateful for the community voters who had faith in her work as a board member. 

"I can't even sleep right now, I'm just so elated," said Perez when reached by phone Tuesday night. "I'm looking forward to working with our current board -- we've done a great job and I want to see us continue doing so."

Baskett trailed with 5,742 votes, or 17.87 percent.

Voters in the high school district -- which stretches from Guadalupe to Cuyama and Santa Maria to Los Alamos -- chose among the four candidates for three at-large seats on the board.

At a forum held in Santa Maria last month, Palera, Karamitsos and Perez expressed similar views on the state of the district's curriculum, graduation requirements and personnel matters, with Baskett often offering some vastly different positions on the issues. 

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Gina Kim covers crime and courts for Santa Maria Times. Follow her on Twitter @gina_k210

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Courts/Public Safety Reporter