Final election results posted Thursday by the Registrar of Voters show Paul “Mac” McNamara defeating two-time incumbent Escondido Mayor Sam Abed by 1,544 votes.
MacNamara received 21,183 votes (51.89 percent of the total) to Abed’s 19,639 votes (48.11 percent).
The total number of votes cast, 40,882, far exceeds the number cast the other two times Abed ran for the city’s highest position.
In 2014, when Abed easily beat Councilwoman Olga Diaz and a third candidate, a total of 27,432 votes were cast for mayor. That’s 13,450 fewer than were cast last month. Four years earlier, when Abed beat Dick Daniels and two other challengers, 31,016 voters cast ballots.
Many have theorized that an increase in the Latino vote in the city played heavily into Abed’s defeat.
In the City Council District 1 race, incumbent Ed Gallo was trounced by challenger Consuelo Martinez, who received 65.18 percent of the vote: 3,692 for Martinez, 1,972 for Gallo.
Four years ago, the first time elections were held by council district, Gallo beat Martinez by just 69 votes.
This year, a total of 5,664 votes were cast in the District 1 race, 2,400 more than in 2014. District 1 is the geographic voting district created specifically to have a majority Latino demographic in order to settle a threatened California Voting Rights Act lawsuit.
McNamara, Martinez and incumbent John Mason, who comfortably won re-election in his District 2 race by receiving just over 50 percent of the vote in a three-way contest, will be sworn in at the next council meeting on Wednesday, which will be held at the special time of 6 p.m.
Abed and Gallo say they will attend the meeting and offer some closing thoughts before stepping down.
McNamara and Martinez will join Councilwoman Olga Diaz in what appears to be a new Democratic majority on a council that has been controlled by conservative Republicans for close to 20 years.
McNamara, 65, a retired Marine Corps colonel, considers himself to be a moderate Democrat.
“I feel grateful for the opportunity,” McNamara said Thursday. “I feel we can have a more inclusive culture in the city, that we can work together as a community.”
In another close Escondido election, Georgine M. Tomasi has defeated incumbent Zesty Harper in the Escondido Union School District Trustee Area 4 race. Tomasi, who was backed by the teacher’s union, beat Harper by 147 votes out of nearly 8,500 cast.
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