The first thing to say is, nothing here is final. All we have so far are end-of-election-night returns. But it appears two longtime council members are on shaky ground. In the 7th district – that’s the Pocket neighborhood – Robbie Waters trails two opponents, Ryan Chin and Darrell Fong. That race will move to a runoff, but it won’t include Waters unless he makes up four percentage points. And in District One, which covers Natomas and part of Downtown, Councilman Ray Trethaway trails community activist Angelique Ashby.
Ashby: “We haven’t had much change to the city council in the past couple of decades, and so there’s a lot of things that need to be worked on here.”
Ashby mentioned the K Street Mall, the Railyards, the riverfront and the moratorium on new development in Natomas because of the high risk of flooding.
Ashby: “And I can only believe that new energy will help push those things forward and help the city of Sacramento progress closer towards its goals.”
Ashby has an 10-point lead over Trethaway, but just 51 percent overall. She’ll need to stay above 50 to avoid a runoff. Trethaway says voters’ frustration with incumbents hurt him too.
Trethaway: “I think this is a national mood which for the first time I’ve seen on a local level – where it’s throw the rascals out, the incumbents, and let’s start fresh and new. Where normally, what you do for the neighborhoods and the community level is what people are watching for.”
One sitting council member may have dodged a runoff. In District 3 – Midtown and East Sacramento – Steve Cohn leads challenger Chris Little with 54 percent of the vote. Cohn says he’s relieved that he’s survived the anti-incumbent mood so far and says the message from voters is clear.
Cohn: “I do feel people are very concerned to see the council squabbling. There’s been less of that lately. But I do feel the people want to see us focus on the issues.”
The final spot up for grabs is the open seat in District Five, which includes Oak Park and Tahoe Park. Jay Schenirer has a solid lead over four other candidates, but not yet enough to win outright. He’ll likely face Patrick Kennedy in November.
County elections officials will start counting the remaining vote-by-mail ballots Wednesday. But final results might take weeks.