The Merced mayoral and council races remained too close to call for some candidates, though all precincts were counted just after midnight.
With a 42.4 percent of the vote, Councilman Mike Murphy led the mayor’s race over the other three hopefuls: small-business owner Necola Adams, and fellow Councilmen Noah Lor and Josh Pedrozo.
In second place was Pedrozo with 28.2 percent, followed by Adams at 15.1 percent and Lor at 14 percent. This year also marks the first that Merced elected three council members by district.
Murphy, a 37-year-old business attorney, said he went into the night with confidence, adding he had a “phenomenal” election team. He’s served a single term on the City Council.
“(Numbers) are certainly all heading the right way. We’re looking forward to all the votes getting counted,” he said Tuesday before all precincts were counted. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to be the city’s next mayor, and working with the new council members and our community to really make some improvements to our quality of life.”
Murphy raised $74,074 from June 2015 through the latest reporting period, dwarfing his competitors’ totals.
Pedrozo, who teaches history at Merced High, was not available for comment on Tuesday.
Regardless of how the votes shake out, Pedrozo remains on the council through 2018. Even if he loses the mayor’s race, his council seat isn’t up for another two years.
Murphy said, if elected as mayor, he would expect to have a good working relationship with Pedrozo.
In his second term on the council, Pedrozo is the son of John Pedrozo, the outgoing Merced County District 1 supervisor.
Perhaps better known as the “Cookie Lady,” Adams is making her first run at elected office. The 53-year-old owns catering business The Cookie Lady’s Bakery & Cafe in Merced.
Lor, 52, who works for Merced County, has served two terms on the council.
District 1, which is in the southeastern part of town, appeared to be sewed up by Anthony Martinez with 42.2 percent, followed by Sonia Fernanda Alshami (24.6 percent), Jesse Ornelas (17.3 percent) and Lakisha Jenkins (15.4 percent).
Martinez, a junior high teacher, said he would wait to see the official numbers before declaring victory. The Merced County Registrar of Voters has not yet certified the totals.
“It’s looking real good,” he said Tuesday. “I can say, regardless of the turn out, I’m just very humbled by the experience.”
Downtown District 3 appears to be won by Jill McLeod, who had 38 percent of the vote, followed by Chris Ramirez (32.7 percent), Daniel R. Kazakos (16.5 percent) and Monica K. Villa (12.2 percent).
McLeod was not available for comment on Tuesday.
Matt Serratto appeared to be on the way to victory in District 5 with 50 percent of votes, compared to Daniel Sabzehzar’s 32.8 percent. Serratto said he felt confident going into the night and was pleased with early numbers, though the race was too early to claim.
A Bay Area native, Serratto said he’s been in Merced for a decade. He also said he ran his campaign as “hard as I could.”
“I love this town,” he said. “This town has really embraced me, and I embraced it back.”