Men walk on Main Street in Vista on Oct. 18, 2022.
Men walk on Main Street in Vista on Oct. 18, 2022. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

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Thousands of ballots still need to be counted, but the results of last week’s election on North County are beginning to come into focus. 

Here’s a roundup of where things stand as of Wednesday evening. 

A Blakespear Victory in the 38th State Senate District 

Democratic Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear, amid a tight battle for the 38th state Senate District seat against Republican business owner Matt Gunderson, announced Monday she was headed to Sacramento for the senate’s new member orientation. 

Blakespear holds a 3.8-point lead over Gunderson, as of Wednesday evening. 

The 38th State Senate District runs from southern Orange County through Oceanside, Carlsbad, Encinitas and Vista south to Carmel Valley, La Jolla, Pacific Beach and Mission Beach.  

Redistricting last year shifted voter registration heavily toward Democrats, and if Blakespear wins, she’ll be flipping the district from red to blue. 

Levin Widens Lead in 49th Congressional District Race 

The Associated Press has called the race for the 49th Congressional District for Democratic Rep. Mike Levin, assuring him another term after he gained a five-point lead over his challenger, former San Juan Capistrano Mayor Brian Maryott, a Republican. 

The 49th District includes the cities of Oceanside, Vista, Carlsbad, Encinitas, Del Mar, as well as Camp Pendleton and some portions of southern Orange County.  

Escondido Likely Has a New Mayor 

Incumbent Escondido Mayor Paul McNamara is trailing challenger Dane White for re-election, and White Tuesday decided his lead was sizable enough to declare victory. 

“We are now fortunately in a position to declare victory in the race for mayor of Escondido,” White said in a statement Tuesday

White, the Republican challenger, leads by 3.3 points as of Wednesday.  

Both candidates have named homelessness as their top campaign priorities. McNamara has touted city statistics, pointing to San Diego County’s 2022 homeless census that showed a 30 percent drop in the number of unsheltered people during his first term. 

But Escondido still has the second highest unsheltered homeless population in North County, and some Escondido residents think McNamara hasn’t done enough to address the homelessness issue. McNamara has also received recent pushback from the rest of the City Council, which has a Republican majority. 

In February, the council removed McNamara as the city’s representative on SANDAG’s board, and then rejected his nomination of fellow Democrat and Councilmember Consuelo Martinez. He has since let the seat sit vacant. 

In Escondido’s two City Council races, incumbents Joe Garcia and Consuelo Martinez maintained their leads over their challengers.  

Because of redistricting, Garcia is running two years earlier than expected. He lives in the redrawn District 2, even though he has two years left of his term in District 3. 

If he loses, he will finish out the final two years of his term in District 3. If he wins, he will earn a new four-year term as the District 2 council member, and the council could appoint someone to finish his term in District 3 or hold a special election. 

If White takes the mayoral seat, the Escondido City Council will keep its Republican majority with Martinez as the sole Democrat on the council. 

The council’s political majority has shifted in each of the last two elections, with a Democratic majority winning in 2018, followed by a Republican majority in 2020. 

Escondido’s Ballot Measures 

The city of Escondido projects that its deficit will grow to $10 million annually over the next five years. / File photo by Adriana Heldiz

Measure E, Escondido’s highly talked about sales tax measure, could be headed for defeat, with “no” leading by just over one point, or 478 votes. 

If approved by voters, the revenue measure would implement a 3/4-cent sales tax increase for 15 years that would generate approximately $21 million annually.  

Escondido had to close an $8.5 million deficit for the 2021-22 fiscal year and projects that deficit to grow to $10 million annually over the next five years. The city has had to make significant cuts to city services over the past few years as the budget gap continues to widen.  

Measure F, which sets term limits for all elected city offices and Measure G, which reduces the salary of the city’s elected treasurer position to the same level as that of a councilmember, were both approved by voters. 

New Mayors for Vista and Carlsbad 

For the first time in 12 years, Vista and Carlsbad are going to have new mayors.  

In Vista, Councilmember John Franklin and Cipriano Vargas are running to replace Judy Ritter, who has served as mayor since 2010. Franklin held a four-point lead over Vargas Wednesday. 

Franklin, a Republican, is the founder of the Vista consulting and management firm Pacific Political, and a former congressional aide to U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa. Vargas, a Democrat, is president of the Vista Unified School District board and manager of strategic initiatives and community engagement for county Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer. 

In Vista’s District 4 City Council race, business development manager Dan O’Donnell, a Democrat, is leading his opponent, retired U.S. Navy Capt. Armen Kurdian, a Republican, by just 41 votes. 

Carlsbad Councilman Keith Blackburn is poised to take the mayoral seat in Carlsbad, succeeding Matt Hall who has served three four-year terms as mayor. 

In the District 1 City Council race, Melanie Burkholder has what looks like a safe lead over five other candidates. And in District 3, incumbent Councilmember Priya Bhat-Patel had a nine-point lead over her opponent, Ray Pearson.

Also in Carlsbad, voters are divided over Measure J, which would allow the city to spend an estimated $22 million to $24 million to renovate and expand the Monroe Street swimming pool that was built in 1982. The “yes” votes led by 2.4 points Wednesday evening. 

Tony Kranz Takes Encinitas Mayoral Seat After Blakespear 

Tony Kranz, an Encinitas councilman since 2012, is expected to become the city’s next mayor

Kranz, a Democrat, went up against four candidates for the seat formerly held by Catherine Blakespear, who is running for the 38th State Senate District seat. He maintained a large lead over opponents Cindy Cremona, Jeff Morris and Michael Blobe, holding almost 47 percent of the votes as of Wednesday. 

For City Council, incumbent Joy Lyndes and former Planning Commissioner Bruce Ehlers are leading over their opponents in Districts 3 and 4, respectively. 

The Tight Race in the 76th Assembly District 

It’s been a rollercoaster race for the 76th Assembly District seat where five-term Democrat Brian Maienschein was trailing his opponent Republican Kristie Bruce-Lane last Wednesday and Thursday, but is now leading by three points. 

The redrawn district includes Escondido, San Marcos, Rancho Bernardo, Rancho Santa Fe and the San Pasqual Valley. 

Maienschein previously served as an assemblymember for five terms representing what was formerly the 77th district. 

The 74th Assembly District  

The close race for the 74th Assembly District seat seems to be leaning toward Republican incumbent Assemblywoman Laurie Davies, who now represents the 73rd District, is up against Democrat Chris Duncan in the newly drawn 74th District.  

In San Diego, Duncan has a 4.26-point lead over Davies, and in Orange County, Davies has a 16.26-point lead over Duncan. 

The district covers the cities of Oceanside, Vista and a small portion of Fallbrook, as well as Camp Pendleton and the South Orange County cities of San Clemente, Laguna Niguel, Dana Point and San Juan Capistrano.  

Easy Win for Desmond in County Supervisor District 5 Race 

County Supervisor Jim Desmond will serve a second term. A yard sign is seen here on election night, Nov. 8, 2022, in downtown San Diego. / Photo by Brittany Cruz-Fejeran for Voice of San Diego

Incumbent Republican County Supervisor Jim Desmond was victorious over opponent neuroscientist Tiffany Boyd-Hodgson, a Democrat, in the District 5 County Supervisor race. 

Desmond has maintained an early and large lead over Boyd-Hodgson of more than 20 points. 

The district includes the cities of Oceanside, Vista, San Marcos, Escondido, Camp Pendleton Marine Base and the communities of Fallbrook, Bonsall, Valley Center and Borrego Springs. 

This will be Desmond’s second term as a County Supervisor. 

Jones to Remain Mayor of San Marcos 

Incumbent San Marcos Mayor Rebecca Jones defeated challenger Councilman Randy Walton in the San Marcos mayoral race. 

Jones has an almost 30-point lead over Walton, meaning she will serve another four-year term as the city’s mayor. 

Walton’s previous District 2 seat will likely be filled by Mike Sannella, who has a significant lead over his three opponents. 

Incumbents Prevail in Del Mar and Solana Beach 

In Del Mar, incumbents Councilwoman Terry Gaasterland and Councilman Dwight Worden were the top two vote-getters over challenger Steve Quirk. 

Quirk is the identical twin brother of Councilman Dan Quirk. 

In Solana Beach, incumbent Councilwoman Kristi Becker will remain in District 2, and Jill Macdonald will serve in District 4 after running unopposed. 

In Other News 

Correction: This post has been updated to correct that incumbent Councilmember Priya Bhat-Patel represents District 3.

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