Bill Spriggs was declared Merced's mayor Thursday after tripling his narrow lead during the final vote tally.
Elections officials tallied the vote-by-mail and provisional ballots in the afternoon before releasing the results and posting them online. Tuesday night Spriggs had a 24-vote lead, which grew to 75 votes.
"People don't think it's important to get out there and vote," he said.
Spriggs finished with 2,345, while his opponent, Michele Gabriault-Acosta ended with 2,270.
Never miss a local story.
The results remain unofficial until they're certified by the Merced County Board of Supervisors next month. The winners will be sworn at the following City Council meeting.
Mayor Ellie Wooten, Gabriault-Acosta and candidate Richard Cervantes were in the Elections Office as registrar of voters Karen Adams announced the returns.
Gabriault-Acosta called Spriggs to congratulate him. "We kept (the race) clean and on the issues," she said to him. "We're still there working for Merced."
Spriggs said later that he plans to work to stimulate more development and create jobs. The council will also have to decide what to do with the homeless population living near Black Rascal Creek. "It’s probably something that won't make anyone happy," he said.
With eight years on the council, Spriggs said he thought his experience helped to nudge him ahead in the election.Voters also elected Bill Blake, Josh Pedrozo and Mary-Michal Rawling to serve as council members.
Reporter Scott Jason can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.