Both of Eureka's contested city council races remain far too close to call as the dust settles from Election Night.
In Ward 3, repeat candidate and local accountant John Fullerton and local union representative and Humboldt County Central Democratic Committee Chair Mario Fernandez are vying to fill the seat soon to be vacated by Fourth District Humboldt County Supervisor elect Natalie Arroyo. Fernandez jumped out to a slim lead with the night’s first report, taking 51 percent of the 355 votes counted to Fullerton’s 49 percent. But by night’s end, Fullerton had pulled ahead by 33 votes, taking 52 percent of the ballots counted thus far. Fullerton’s lead is significant, but recent years’ trends tell us the ballots counted after election night skew closer to the numbers from the first returns, meaning Fernandez still has a chance to close the gap.
Over in Ward 5, where local business owner Nicholas Kohl and community volunteer Renee Contreras-Deloach were running to fill the shoes of soon-to-be Mayor Kim Bergel, the race was even closer, with Contreras-Deloach finishing the night with a 15-vote lead, having taken 52 percent of the ballots counted thus far.
Both races remain too close to call and will likely hang in the balance for weeks.
The Eureka City Council is going to look a lot different come next year.
While Ward One Councilmember Leslie Castellano is running unopposed for a second term and Ward Five Councilmember Kim Bergel is running unopposed for mayor, two council seats are up for grabs today and very much contested. Local restaurant owner Nicholas Kohl and community volunteer Renee Contreras Deloach are vying for Bergel’s soon-to-be vacated Ward 5 seat, while repeat candidate and local accountant John Fullerton and local union representative and Humboldt County Central Democratic Committee Chair Mario Fernandez running for the Ward 3 seat soon to be vacated by Fourth District Humboldt County Supervisor elect Natalie Arroyo.
In the first returns of the evening — comprised entirely of early voting and vote by mail ballots that arrived off at the Election's Office prior to today — Fernandez leads the Ward 3 race, having taken 51.27 percent of the vote to Fullerton's 48.73 percent, with 355 votes counted thus far.
Over in Ward 5, meanwhile, Contreras-Deloach has taken 56.13 percent of the first ballots tallied, while Kohl trails with 43.87 percent of the 212 ballots counted.
Check back first thing tomorrow morning for full election night results.