Preliminary numbers showed two political newcomers — Cindy Vierra and Paul Creighton — poised to take over seats on the Atwater city council with incumbent Larry Bergman trailing by nearly 500 votes.
With 67 percent of precincts reporting, Vierra, an area manager for Nations Lending, was leading the way with 2,265 votes (31.1 percent), Creighton in second with 2,168 (29.77 percent) and Bergman with 1,687 (23.17 percent) in third. Retiree Dan Hernandez was fourth in the four candidate race with 1,132 votes (15.55 percent).
Creighton, 48, owner of P-33 Painting, said he was “overwhelmed” and “very grateful” for the support from voters. Creighton, in an interview at 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, said with 67 percent of precincts reporting, he felt confident the results wouldn’t “change all that much.”
“I’m very happy. I think Cindy and I have a lot of similar views and I think people are ready for change,” Creighton said.
Vierra, 50, was not available for comment late Tuesday. Earlier in the day Vierra described the campaign as “exciting” and “respectful.”
“I think, for the most part, all the candidates were respectful and there wasn’t anything dirty,” Vierra said. “I think it was a good campaign; very exciting. We all agree we need positive changes.”
Bergman, 55, a retired fire captain and Realtor at Coldwell Banker Gonella Realty in Atwater, emphasized his experience on the city council and his more than three decades of public safety experience as a firefighter. He was not available for comment late Tuesday.
Bergman, the only experienced politician in the race, said he was cautiously optimistic about his re-election bid.
Hernandez, 72, acknowledged an unorthodox campaign strategy that saw him avoiding many of the larger public campaign events, like the town hall meeting in September or the Sun-Star Q & A profiles in October. He said his style focused more on the old-fashioned shoe leather approach of meeting with voters in small groups or face-to-face.
This story will be updated Wednesday.