Election results 2018

On a night when off year elections usually generate very small attention, the 2018 races both statewide and locally presented some new energetic faces. In a tighter than expected governor’s race, Democrat Gavin Newsom held off Republican John Cox to secure a win as California’s new Governor. An even tighter race applied to California’s United State Senate seat. Incumbent Democrat Diane Feinstein squeezed out a narrow victory over fellow Democrat Kevin De Leon. In the race for the United States Congressional 26th District seat, Democrat Julia Brownley won handily over Republican Antonio Sabato Jr.

The 44th District California State Assembly seat was won by Democrat incumbent Jacqui Irwin over Republican challenger Ronda Baldwin-Kennedy. In local elections within Ventura County, some of the races reflected new winners. For the Ventura County Community College District Board of Trustees, District 1 was won easily by newcomer Joshua Chancer. District 2 was won by incumbent Dianne McKay. Gabriela Torres beat out incumbent Art Hernandez for the District 5 seat. In Oxnard city races, the new redistricting process for the Oxnard city council included the following winners: District 1: Bert Perello; District 2: Carmen Ramirez; District 5: Gabriela Basula, District 6: Vianey Lucia Lopez. In the race for Oxnard City Mayor, incumbent Tim Flynn held onto his seat, in spite of strong challenges from Aaron Starr and Mario Quintana. Around town on election night, candidates hung out in their favorite restaurants and bars waiting for election results.

Tim Flynn was at his usual election night headquarters at Dominick’s Italian Restaurant. Flynn admitted that politics in Oxnard over the last election cycle has been difficult. “It’s been a little bit tumultuous,” he said, “and that’s because we just had a recall election eight months ago, and so we had a three or four month break, and then we had to go right back at it.” Flynn held firm to his view that the future of Oxnard is positive. Still, he said that the last few months have been difficult for citizens who are trying to understand the city’s utility rate increases. “There’s still a lingering feeling out there,” he divulged, “that the city missed out on an opportunity to really be able to explain to the public why a wastewater rate increase was necessary.” Did he receive some push back as a result? “No,” said Flynn. “But you know anytime a city goes through a period of a lot of financial uncertainty, then things are unsettled, things are a little uncertain for a while.” Even though the city just received a two-notch upgrade in its wastewater bond rating by Standard and Poor’s, Flynn acknowledged that the city’s finances still need improvement. “We still have a lot of challenges,” he noted.

For city council candidates, this has been a different election. The city’s division into six districts means that some new representation will be included in the upcoming city council. For incumbent Carmen Ramirez at downtown’s Fresh and Fabulous, she felt that surviving a recent recall election and winning her District 2 seat for city council was a positive statement from her constituents. “I think it’s a vote of confidence for the way the city’s going,” she said. Like Flynn, she pointed to the recent improvement by Standard and Poor’s for the city’s wastewater management. “It means, if the city has to borrow money, it will cost everybody less because we have good credit.” Even though she represents District 2, she reminded citizens that the city still operates as a whole. “If you are a person that gets elected who only cares about your neighborhood, you’re making a big mistake” she asserted, “and if you’re a voter that only cares about your neighborhood, you’re making a big mistake, because we’re one city, and if you don’t cared about all of the city, it’s going to cost this neighborhood or that neighborhood ultimately. Our resources belong to everybody. We have to be making smart decisions.”

Incumbent Bert Perello was waiting out election results at Sabor’s. He noted that in running for the city’s District 1 city council seat, “it’s much easier to cover a smaller area in a district, but as far as the expense, it’s probably about the same.” Still, it hasn’t changed his approach to campaigning. “It’s not hard to find people to talk to,” he stated. “If you knock on the door and somebody answers, for the most part, people will talk.” For Francine Castañon, waiting at Tomas Café and one of the new candidates for District 6, the chance to have new representation for South Oxnard is a plus. Still, she’s going to remain involved. “I’m still going to do things in my community,” she said. For Elizabeth White, relaxing at Sam’s Saloon and a city council candidate for District 5, she found that this election pushed her to be out front on her own. “It’s personal,” she confessed. “I miss my mom. She was my campaign manager previously.” Now she has to handle her own campaigning, and it’s a matter of maintaining her confidence. “I have a lot of good friends,” she said. “I have my brother who has been my right hand.”