Mayor Ernesto Olivares and Councilman Gary Wysocky will return to their seats on Santa Rosa's City Council, joined by two challengers, neighborhood activist Julie Combs and attorney Erin Carlstrom.
Final vote tallies late Tuesday night showed top vote-getters were Olivares with 15.1 percent, Combs with 14.1 percent, Carlstrom with 14 percent and Wysocky with 13.8 percent.
“I'm happy with what I see so far,” Olivares said Tuesday evening as he snapped pictures with supporters at D'Argenzio Winery.
Trailing behind were restaurateur Don Taylor, with 12 percent, former volunteer coordinator Caroline Bañuelos, with 11.9 percent, and Hans Dippel, with 7.3 percent.
“I'm grateful the voters returned me to office,” Wysocky said outside Democratic Party headquarters downtown as results came in. “I look forward to good healthy discussions of public policy for the betterment of our city.”
The results could significantly shift the direction of the council for the third time in four years.
The 2008 election swept liberals into power for the first time in the council's history, but only by a slim 4-3 majority. Their grip on power was brief and turbulent.
The 2010 campaign saw business and public employee groups attack Mayor Susan Gorin and Veronica Jacobi as inept. Gorin survived, but Jacobi, the coalition's staunchest environmentalist, lost her seat.
With the election of Scott Bartley, an architect, and Jake Ours, a retired economic development official, the balance shifted back in favor of council members supported by public employee unions and business and development interests.
For the past two years, the council has focused on a collaborative approach to pension overhaul, which some have criticized as not going far enough, and aggressive economic development efforts, which critics said came at the expense of neighborhood input.