Alvarez claims win in Santa Rosa council race, marking historic moment for Roseland
Businessman Eddie Alvarez is set to be Santa Rosa’s newest City Council member, with a wide lead in a race for the District 1 seat that ensures he will be the first councilman from Roseland and only the second Latino elected to city office.
Alvarez, who owns The Hook dispensary and manages the Joyeria Maria jewelry store, has about 45% of the roughly 4,500 ballots that have been counted so far. His next closest rival, electrical engineer Jorge Inocencio, has 30% of the vote, a gap he conceded would be unlikely to close in final results.
Alvarez embraced the moment Thursday, citing his previous unsuccessful bid for county office.
“A represented southwest Santa Rosa is paramount to any political aspiration,” Alvarez said in a statement. “It’s why I bowed out of the supervisor's race in 2008 and why I'm proud to see the same level of commitment from my fellow candidates. We are 1, District 1!”
Alvarez on Thursday said he had heard from Inocencio and the third candidate in the race, community organizer and community advocate Duane De Witt.
“We didn't get it this time, but I am extremely proud of what my team has done,” Inocencio said in a statement posted to his campaign’s Facebook page.
Alvarez, a well-known figure in Roseland, secured the endorsement of the Sonoma County Democratic Party and outraised his competitors, largely on the strength of personal loans to his campaign.
The contest was the first for a largely Latino swath of the city including Roseland, which was not annexed into Santa Rosa until 2017. With the city’s switch to district-based elections, starting in 2018, the race for District 1 ensured that someone from southwest Santa Rosa would claim city office, another rare if unprecedented event in city history.
Alvarez will join the largely white and male council next month as its only Latino member. The first Latino councilman, Ernesto Olivares, did not run for reelection this year and will leave office when his term expires.
In the other undecided race for the council’s District 7 seat, marriage and family therapist Natalie Rogers and visual special effects firm owner Eric Christensen remained separated by only 278 votes in the preliminary results.
Rogers, who would be Santa Rosa’s first Black councilwoman and drew support from progressives, had received about 43% of the vote as of Thursday, while Christensen, who drew support from the business community, had received close to 40% of the vote. District 7 includes parts of west and southwest Santa Rosa.
At least 62,500 ballots countywide remain uncounted, with more expected to arrive in the mail, according to Deva Proto, the county’s election chief. Results could be updated by Friday or over the weekend, she said Thursday.
Incumbent councilmen Jack Tibbetts and Chris Rogers both won reelection, with Tibbetts winning in a landslide over write-in challenger Keith Rhinehart and Rogers prevailing handily over political newcomer Azmina Hanna.
You can reach Staff Writer Will Schmitt at 707-521-5207 or email@example.com. On Twitter @wsreports.