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Dominic Foppoli wins inaugural race for Windsor mayor; Deb Fudge secures district council seat

For 2020 election results, go here.

Incumbent Dominic Foppoli won the inaugural race for Windsor mayor, in what was local residents’ first time voting directly for the town’s head public official.

Foppoli, owner of multiple area wineries, beat three opponents with 45% of the vote and all precincts reporting by Wednesday afternoon, according to the county Registrar of Voters Office.

He will serve a two-year term, replacing the practice of council members choosing a colleague as mayor each year.

“I am so incredibly appreciative to the people of Windsor for selecting me the first elected mayor of their town,” Foppoli said.

Rosa Reynoza, a wine industry veteran, received 31% of the vote in the mayoral contest. Sam Salmon, the longest-running member of the Windsor Town Council, garnered 15%. Tanya Potter, a probation officer and former police officer, got 9%.

In addition to the mayoral race, town council member Deb Fudge got the victory in the newly formed 3rd Council District with 55% of the vote and all precincts reporting. Her lone challenger, Jeffrey Leasure, a tax consultant and former planning commissioner, got 45%.

Fudge is the first official elected to one of four newly formed Town Council districts. She will serve a four-year term representing the third district, covering east Windsor.

“This will be my seventh term on the council, and I still consider myself a representative for all of Windsor,” Fudge said.

On Sunday, Foppoli told The Press Democrat he had tested positive for COVID-19 last week following a business trip to Tennessee. He said he was tested on Oct. 26 ― one week after he began experiencing cold-like symptoms while traveling. He was informed he was positive for the virus three days later.

While awaiting his test results, Foppoli said he did a minimal amount of socially distanced campaigning, including “standing on the corner waving (campaign) signs.”

When he received the results on Oct. 29, Foppoli said on that date it had been 10 days since he first felt ill, the amount of time health officials recommend isolating after noticing symptoms, meaning he likely was no longer contagious.

Dr. John Swartzberg an infectious disease specialist at UC Berkeley, said for that reason it’s not necessary that Foppoli isolate himself or be retested, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

Still, in an interview on Wednesday, Foppoli conceded not immediately getting tested and isolating in Tennessee was a mistake in judgment.

“It would have been the safer more conservative thing to do,” he said. “I’m hoping this is a learning lesson for everybody.”

On Tuesday evening, Foppoli said he watched the national election results at El Gallo Negro restaurant in Windsor with his family, while friends and supporters, including Fudge, sat at separate tables. He said it was not an election party and attendees followed all county public health guidelines.

A restaurant employee contacted by The Press Democrat said a 6:30 p.m. reservation was made for “the city of Windsor” for 20 to 30 people. Foppoli said he did not know who made that reservation.

A key issue for candidates in both races was development, in particular plans for a new civic center, hotel and housing project around the Town Green, which opponents say would alter the character of Windsor’s signature public space.

While the project has run into delays due to financing snags caused by the pandemic, Foppoli and Fudge said completing it remains a top priority.

Foppoli’s first goal in his new term, however, is to unite the town after what he described as a contentious local election.

“I want to be the mayor for the whole town whether they voted for me or not,” he said.

Staff Writer Kaylee Tornay contributed to this story.

You can reach Staff Writer Ethan Varian at ethan.varian@pressdemocrat.com or 707-521-5412. On Twitter @ethanvarian

For 2020 election results, go here.

Ethan Varian

Housing and homelessness, The Press Democrat 

I've lived in California for most of my life, and it's hard for me to remember when the state hasn't been in a housing crisis. Here in Sonoma County, sharply rising housing costs and increasing homelessness are reshaping what was long considered the Bay Area’s “affordable” region. As The Press Democrat’s housing and homelessness reporter, I aim to cover how officials, advocates, developers and residents are reacting to and experiencing the ongoing crisis.

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