Santa Maria Sun / News
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 40
Zuniga finishes first in race for Santa Maria City Council
BY AMY ASMAN
Terri Zuniga was the top vote getter, with 9,728 votes, in the race for Santa Maria City Council. The Santa Barbara County Election’s Office posted finalized election results on Dec. 4.
“My phone was blowing up with people saying, ‘It’s 5 o’clock. Why haven’t they posted it yet?’ I just kept refreshing my computer screen,” Zuniga recalled in an interview with the Sun. “It’s very exciting and very humbling.”
Incumbent Bob Orach took second by just two votes—9,219 votes versus Etta Waterfield’s 9,217 votes. Orach said he was in a closed session council meeting when the results were announced. Ultimately, it was the outgoing mayor, Larry Lavagnino, who gave him the good news.
Zuniga, who was actually in third place on election night, said that experience was “disheartening because we thought we ran a flawless campaign.” But upon further inspection, Zuniga said, the results showed she won at the polls. Orach and Waterfield got the most early vote-by-mail votes.
“We thought, ‘Well, it’s not over until it’s over,’” Zuniga said.
According to Zuniga, she took the lead when the election office started counting the vote-by-mail ballots dropped off at polling stations on election night.
Zuniga and Orach will be sworn in with mayor-elect Alice Patino on Dec. 18, when the new council will discuss how to fill Patino’s vacant seat.