By Nick Diamantides
Only 34,976 of Long Beach’s 238,294 bothered to vote in the city’s primary nominating election on Tuesday, April 13. Of those who voted, 15,269 went to the polls and 19,707 mailed in their ballots. The two groups combined totaled 14.7 percent voter participation. That small minority of voters picked most of the people who will be leading the city during the next four years.
The city’s top elected official, Mayor Bob Foster, as expected, was reelected to a second term by a landslide. As of press time, the unofficial election results, posted on the city’s web page, showed Foster with 26,175 votes to his opponent Stevie Danielle Merino with 5,057 votes.
City Auditor Laura Doud, who ran unopposed, received 29,070 votes.
In another citywide race, incumbent City Attorney Bob Shannon was reelected to a fourth four-year term in office. As of Wednesday morning, Shannon had received 17,734 votes, or 57.7 percent of the votes cast. His opponent, Tom Reeves, who has been Long Beach city prosecutor for the last 12 years, received 13,002 votes, or 42.3 percent of the votes cast.
According to Rick Taylor, Shannon’s election campaign consultant, early Wednesday morning, Shannon told his supporters that he was proud that the voters of Long Beach recognized the hard work that he and his staff had put in during the past 12 years and he looks forward to serving the community for the next four years. “He was honored to have earned their support once again and he looks forward to going back to work today, which he has done,” Taylor said.
The Signal Tribune was not able to reach Reeves.
In the fourth citywide race, Doug Haubert was elected as Reeves’s replacement and will be sworn in as city prosecutor in a few weeks. As of Wednesday morning, Haubert had received 16,629 votes, or 54.4 percent of the votes cast. His opponent, Assistant City Prosecutor Timothy O’Reilly had received 13,927 votes, or 45.6 percent of the votes cast.
“I want to thank those who supported my campaign and showed that they want a change,” Haubert said after winning the election. “Long Beach is a great city, but working together, we can make it better. He stressed that his focus will be on making neighborhoods safer and protecting the quality of life for all residents. “I’m ready to get to work, and there is a lot of work to do,” he added.
There was no clear winner in the 7th City Council District race, but James Johnson and incumbent City Councilwoman Tonia Reyes-Uranga were the two top vote-getters, which means they will square off in the upcoming June election. As of Wednesday morning, Johnson had received 2,121 votes, or 45 percent of the votes cast. Reyes-Uranga, waging a write-in campaign because she is seeking a third term in office, had received 1,445 votes or 30.7 percent of the votes cast. The results of the other contenders’ campaigns were as follows: Jill Hill received 845 votes, Jack Smith received 281 votes and Fernando Bernabe, who also conducted a write-in campaign, received 20 votes.
None of the 7th District candidates were available for comment on Wednesday morning and, as of press time, none of them had returned phone messages left by the Signal Tribune.
In the 9th District City Council race, Steve Neal was the clear winner. He received 1,440 votes, or 52.3 percent of the votes cast. Incumbent Val Lerch, also conducting a write-in campaign because he was seeking a third term in office, received 717 votes or 26.1 percent of the votes cast. The third contender in the race, Brad Shore, received 431 votes. The fourth contender, Dan Pressberg, received 163 votes despite the fact that he had withdrawn from the race more than a month before the election.
On Wednesday morning, neither Lerch nor Shore was available for comment, but Neal put his comments in a press release. “Thank you, Long Beach,” he said. “Thank you to the residents of Long Beach who came out to support my candidacy. I am looking forward to representing you in City Hall and bringing real change to the 9th District. This is just the beginning.”
In other city council district races, incumbent 1st District Councilman Robert Garcia, incumbent 3rd District Councilman Gary DeLong, and incumbent 5th District Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske were all reelected.
In other races, Jeffrey Kellogg, Mark Bowen and Tom Clark were all reelected to the Long Beach City College Governing Board of Trustees, and Mary Stanton was reelected to the Board of Education of the Long Beach Unified School District. For updated election information, go to longbeach.gov/cityclerk/default.asp.