SR council race brings political shift

Political newcomer Gary Wysocky became the top voter-getter in the race for Santa Rosa?s City Council, overcoming a 900-vote deficit to overtake Mayor John Sawyer in the late vote count Tuesday.

The final vote tally had Wysocky garnering 25,211 votes, or 13.7 percent, to Sawyer?s 24,613 votes, or 13.4 percent.

Despite the switch in positions both were victorious Tuesday, as were incumbent Jane Bender, former councilwoman Marsha Vas Dupre and Police Lt. Ernesto Olivares.

All five held healthy leads over their other rivals throughout the evening.

Wysocky, Sawyer, Olivares and Vas Dupre were being challenged by seven others for the four, four-year seats up for election.

Their challengers included incumbents Lee Pierce and Carol Dean, who were both defeated.

And Bender won an easy victory against three lesser known challengers to fill the remaining two years of former mayor Bob Blanchard?s term. Blanchard died in June after a three year battle with cancer.

Tuesday?s election, however, likely marked the end of the long-time majority of pro-business council members ? Sawyer, Bender, Dean and Blanchard ? on the council.

The election of Wysocky and Vas Dupre to the seven-member council is expected to create a more environmentally and labor-friendly majority that would include current Council Members Susan Gorin and Veronica Jacobi.

Tuesday?s returns were in keeping with tracking polls over the past two months that consistently found Bender, Sawyer, Vas Dupre and Wysocky holding leads over the other 11 candidates competing for the five seats up for election.

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