Abed’s Esco mayor lead shrinks from 275 to 29 votes (UPDATED 6 P.M. NOV. 13)

The race for Escondido mayor between Incumbent Republican Sam Abed, left, and Democratic challenger Paul "Mac" McNamara remained too close to call as of Saturday, Nov. 10 with several thousand mail-in ballots left to count/File

Don’t believe EVERY vote matters? One might term it the ‘Big Mac Attack.’

With Escondido mayoral mail-in and provisional ballots continuing to be counted Monday afternoon, Democratic challenger Paul “Mac McNamara pulled within 29 votes of Republican incumbent Sam Abed.

Although all 75 Escondido precincts have reported results, the race for Escondido mayor turned into a race for the ages this weekend as McNamara cut into Abed’s rapidly shrinking Thursday lead of 414 votes and Friday lead of 275 votes.

As of 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 12, Abed had 15,195 votes, or 50.03 percent, to McNamara’s 15,175 votes, or 49.97 percent. As of Tuesday, Nov. 12, very few additional Escondido votes were counted. Abed had 15,282 votes, or 50.05 percent, to McNamara’s 15,253 votes, or 49.95 percent.

As of late Sunday, the San Diego County Registrar of Voters said 856,311 votes had been counted countywide and 299,000 remained to be processed with overall voter turnout estimated to be around 65 percent when all votes were counted. County election officials appeared to be counting about 30,000 votes daily.

With roughly 20 percent of the vote still not counted, that meant several thousand mail-in and provisional ballots possibly remained to be counted from Escondido.

Abed actually declared victory Wednesday despite thousands of outstanding ballots while McNamara declined to concede, saying he would wait until all votes were counted.

For continued updates, consult the San Diego County Registrar of Voters website at http://www.livevoterturnout.com/SanDiego/LiveResults/en/Index_5.html.

For continued updates on California 50th Congressional District’s race, visit:

https://www.nytimes.com/elections/results/california-house-district-50.

The closeness of the race reflected a major change in Escondido demographics and political alignments in the last 10 years.  Once a solidly Republican city, the latest registration figures showed an almost even divide between Republicans, Democrats and Independents in 2018.

The winner of the mayoral race represents the swing vote on the Escondido City Council.

Progressive Democrat Consuelo Martinez took her momentum from the 2014 District 1 contest in central Escondido to a big win over longtime, and far right-wing, councilman Ed Gallo. She lost by 69 votes in 2014 and was ahead with 1,996 votes, or 59.09 percent to Gallo’s 1,382 votes, or 40.91 percent on Saturday. Martinez would ally with fellow Democrat Olga Diaz, of District 3, who was not on the ballot this year.

Meanwhile, in a 3-person race for District 2, Republican conservative John Masson had 4,277 votes, or 53.64 percent, to liberal Democrat Vanessa Valenzuela at 2,864 votes, or 35.92 percent and Independent Nicole Downey at 833 votes, or 10.45 percent. Masson would team up with fellow Republican conservative Michael Morasco who represents District 4 and was not on the ballot.

While the mayoral contest will have significant consequences for Escondido, the election of the 39-year-old Martinez — who posed a complete contrast to the 76-year-old Gallo who was first elected in 2002 — represented a political earthquake for the city.

Escondido council rules call for a minimum of two councilpersons to introduce agenda items. Diaz often could not find a co-sponsor among the four other members on past councils. That changes next year.

Outstanding mail-in and provisional ballots continued to represent a large hold-up in final California election tallies, so Escondido was hardly alone in its unfinished status.

On Friday morning, the secretary of state’s office reported that there were more than 4.8 million votes left to count in the state.

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