Election 2014: Dunn, Garcia Head to Runoff for Mayor; Council Welcomes Three New Members

Early in the morning Wednesday, all 295 precincts partaking in the election reported their results for what some have called the most important election in Long Beach in decades.

Out of the 285,029 registered voters in Long Beach, only 40,589 took part in the election, or what amounts to a 14.2% turnout, one of the lowest on record.

This year’s mayoral race is one of the most crowded in recent history—particularly in comparison to 2010, where outgoing Mayor Bob Foster swept the race with 83.9% of the vote. He faced a 21-year-old Cerritos College student and socialist Stevie Merino.

Ten mayoral candidates crowded the ballot but only two made it to the runoff: current Vice Mayor Robert Garcia and former NFL player and businessman Damon Dunn, who will face each other June 3 for what is likely to be a contentious race. Garcia took top spot with 25.4% of the vote, which amounts to 9,670 votes; Dunn garnered 22.3% of the vote or 8,478 votes.

One of Dunn’s largest supporters, Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce President Randy Gordon, remained optimistic.

“Damon Dunn is by far the best candidate for business and we knew that last June when our PAC endorsed him,” Gordon said Tuesday. “He did not have [an election night] party tonight as he didn’t want to celebrate until he wins the race on June 3.”

The two candidates who came closest to edging out Dunn were Long Beach political veteran and current Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal and outgoing 5th District Councilmember Gerrie Schipske. Lowenthal, a Long Beach political veteran, garnered 19.6% (7,453) while Schipske totaled to 15.5%.

Schipske was quick to take to her Facebook to comment, not mincing words in regard to an election she called “bought.”

“It’s over,” Schipske wrote. “Only 13% of the voters voted. I came in 4th out of 10 running. $1.5 million was spent by my opponents. I spent $90,000. Interesting how money can buy an election. I want to thank everyone who did vote and who supported the campaign. Will be wrapping up my council office over the next few weeks.”

The other six candidates registered the following numbers in votes:

  • Doug Otto: 13.6% (5,186)
  • Jana Shields: 2.2% (840)
  • Steven Mozena: 0.5% (182)
  • Mineo Gonzalez: 0.4% (150)
  • Eric Rock: 0.4% (149)
  • Richard Camp: 0.2% (90)

The race for the City Attorney will be a runoff between well-established City Hall veteran Charles Parkin and another, albeit newer, City Hall vet, outgoing 7th District Councilmember James Johnson. Parkin garnered a much larger chunk of the vote—45.1% (16,403) compared to Johnson’s 37.8% (13,735)—but not enough to cement the seat he was seeking.

Incumbent Doug Haubert slammed opponent Rosemary Chavez at the polls, gathering 73.9% (26,052) of the vote compared to Chavez’s 26.1% (9,223).

Of the five City Council seats being sought, three newcomers will be sitting down in Council chambers every Tuesday starting July.

3rd District candidate and attorney Suzie Price earned 54.9% (4,559) of the district’s vote. Outgoing 9th District Councilmember Steve Neal’s own chief of staff, Rex Richardson, easily took him the prize with a staggering 72.4% of the 9th’s vote.

Roberto Uranga barely squeaked by—50.2% of the 7th District’s vote—to score the seat previously occupied by not just James Johnson, but Uranga’s own wife, Tonia Reyes-Uranga.

To read all the specific numbers on the reported results, click here.

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Brian Addison has been a writer, editor and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food to politics to urban transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 12 nominations and an additional win for Best Political Commentary. Born in Big Bear, he has lived in Long Beach since college. Brian currently serves as a columnist and editor for the Long Beach Post.