Tag Archives: Lionel Largaespada

Benicia voters appear to reject incumbents, Valero in City Council election

Councilmember Lionel Largaespada wrote on Facebook that he called retired executive Terry Scott and planning commissioner Kari Birdseye to congratulate them.

The Vallejo Sun, by Scott Morris, Nov 11, 2022

Retired executive Terry Scott, left, and planning commissioner Kari Birdseye, right, appear to have prevailed in the Benicia City Council race. Photos: Scott Morris.

BENICIA – Benicia voters appear to have ousted incumbent city councilmembers who drew substantial monetary support from oil manufacturer Valero, as two challengers who have been critical of the refinery appear poised to win after Tuesday’s election, according to unofficial results from the Solano County Registrar of voters.

Councilmember Lionel Largaespada wrote on Facebook Thursday night that he called retired executive Terry Scott and planning commissioner Kari Birdseye to congratulate them on their apparent victory in the city council race.

“While there are still ballots to be counted the data indicates their respective leads will hold,” Largaespada wrote. “It has been the greatest honor and privilege to serve the community I love, where I raise my family and I hope they will raise theirs.”

Birdseye, who works as an environmental spokesperson, thanked her opponents in a statement provided to the Sun.

“Although we don’t always agree on policies that are best for our community, Councilmember Largaespada served Benicia well, especially working with frontline community groups,” Birdseye said. “I thank both Lionel and Christina for their dedication to our community and look forward to their continued counsel as I step into this new role.”

Scott has been in first place since the first returns were released Tuesday night. Birdseye was initially in second place, but fell behind Largaespada as more Election Day votes were counted. But as the county continued counting late-arriving vote-by-mail ballots, Birdseye again took second place, and her lead grew to more than 100 votes late Thursday. Incumbent Councilmember Christina Strawbridge has remained in fourth place.

Benicia’s council members are elected by the entire city and the top two vote-getters will be on the council for the next four years.

The race was hotly contested, particularly because of the influence of Valero, the city’s largest employer that spent tens of thousands of dollars campaigning for the incumbents in the last days leading up to Election Day.

Valero previously campaigned for Largaespada and Strawbridge and against Birdseye in 2018. Birdseye narrowly lost that race. When Strawbridge ran for mayor two years later, Valero again supported her, but she lost badly to now-Mayor Steve Young.

This year, it appeared that Valero might sit out the race following a scandal when it was revealed that the refinery had allowed toxic gas to be released from a hydrogen vent for years. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District obtained an abatement order for Valero, but what penalties the refinery may face have yet to be determined.

Valero’s political meddling was a major issue at a candidates forum in October, where Scott and Birdseye called for greater oversight of the refinery in the wake of the emissions scandal.

Altered Valero PAC mailer (added here by the BenIndy, not in the original Vallejo Sun article)

But Valero did not take any action during the campaign until its final weeks, when a political action committee (PAC) receiving funding from Valero sent mailers on behalf of Largaespada and Strawbridge and spent $10,000 on Facebook ads. According to filings available by Tuesday’s election deadline, Valero had spent $89,507.71 supporting Largaespada and Strawbridge.

Largaespada and Strawbridge have both denounced Valero’s attempts to influence the city’s politics. By law, their campaigns cannot coordinate with the activities of Valero’s PAC.

Benicia City Council: Largaespada concedes

From his facebook page…

By Roger Straw, November 11, 2022

https://www.facebook.com/search/top?q=lionel%20largaespada

A few minutes ago I called to congratulate vice-mayor elect Terry Scott and councilmember elect Kari Birdseye. While there are still ballots to be counted the data indicates their respective leads will hold.
It has been the greatest honor and privilege to serve the community I love, where I raise my family and I hope they will raise theirs. Please rest assured I am not going anywhere. I served you before I got into politics and I will continue to serve you going forward. I remain available to the Benicia community and will always do my best to help where there is a need. If you need anything I can be reached at 415-377-2872… I still know people 🙂.
But seriously, thank you so much to my family, friends and supporters – you mean the world to me. The votes, signs, meet and greets and outpouring of support was incredible and something I will never forget.
I love you Benicia, and I’ll see you around town.

Benicia City Council: Scott and Birdseye increase their lead

The trend is clear, but it’s still too early to call the race. There are around 1,900 Benicia ballots yet to count.

By Roger Straw, November 11, 2022

New votes today

Here is the updated chart showing today’s Solano County Registrar of Voters report.

Click on image to enlarge.

It’s good news for supporters of Kari Birdseye and Terry Scott, who continued adding newly counted mail-in votes at about the same winning rate as was reported on election day. 3,572 new votes were reported for Council candidates today. Of that number:

    • Terry Scott and Kari Birdseye both received exactly 886 new votes or 24.8% each;
    • Lionel Largaespada received 816 votes, 22.8%; and
    • Christina Strawbridge received 741 votes, 20.7%.

These percentages are very similar to those reported for the 10,000 mail-in ballots reported out on election day:

    • Scott 25.6%
    • Birdseye 24.5%
    • Largaespada 22.1% and
    • Strawbridge 21.1%.
Totals as of today

Ballots and votes still outstanding

As of today, Thursday at 5:40pm, the Solano County Registrar of Voters reported 17,588 outstanding countywide vote by mail ballots and another 1,671 outstanding provisional ballots. Total of around 19,000. My estimate of Benicia’s total remaining to be counted is around 10% of that, or 1,900 ballots. With each voter able to cast up to two votes for Council candidates, that means nearly 3,800 votes have yet to be split between the 5 candidates.

For the daily update of remaining countywide outstanding ballots, see Solano County Election Results.

Still close, but leaning towards Kari and Terry.

Today’s numbers again favor Scott and Birdseye. It may be too close and too early to call the race, but I am feeling good about our likely two new councilmembers, our friends Terry and Kari.

Stay tuned for daily updates – I’ll keep you posted here.

Roger


Previous updates:

Benicia City Council: About that big number of outstanding ballots

Benicia City Council race has around 4,000 ballots yet to count, nearly double that number of votes for candidates

By Roger Straw, November 10, 2022

A number of readers have asked where I got the huge number of outstanding ballots yet to be counted. And some have rightly pointed out that the number I’ve reported is larger than the number of voters in Benicia!

Sorry I wasn’t clear – the large number of outstanding ballots is countywide. Additional Benicia votes in the coming days will account for around 10-12% of the remaining 37,500 countywide ballots still to be counted.

For the daily update of remaining countywide outstanding ballots, see Solano County Election Results.

Precise most recent numbers: As of Wednesday at 5:21pm, the Solano County Registrar of Voters reported 35,821 outstanding vote by mail ballots and another 1,671 outstanding provisional ballots. Total of 37,492. My estimate of Benicia’s total remaining to be counted is around 3,750 to 4,000 ballots. With each voter able to cast up to two votes for Council candidates, that means nearly 7,500 to 8,000 votes have yet to be split between the 5 candidates.

Benicia City Council – Two-day trend favors Birdseye, Scott

Here is a fascinating 2-day comparison, which I developed using data from the Solano County Registrar of Voters website.

Click image to enlarge. Note total figures at right in green.

On the day after election day, the County added nearly 2,000 new BENICIA ballots. With voters casting up to 2 votes for Council candidates, that translated to an increase of 3,382 additional votes counted on November 9 for our Council election.  Of those 3,382 Day-After Votes:

    • Kari Birdseye received the most votes, 861 or 25.5%;
    • Terry Scott received 853 votes, 25.2%;
    • Lionel Largaespada received 762 votes, 22.5%; and
    • Christina Strawbridge received 692 votes, 20.5%.

Still close, but leaning towards Kari and Terry.

As might be expected, these percentages resemble closely the vote-by-mail numbers reported on election day, numbers that favor Scott and Birdseye. It may be too close and too early to call the race, but I am feeling good about our likely two new councilmembers, our friends Terry and Kari.

Stay tuned for daily updates – I’ll keep you posted here.

Roger


Previous updates: