Tag Archives: Lionel Largaespada

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.


Previous updates:

Benicia City Council: Birdseye moves up, now leading in second place

Benicia City Council race is still too close to call – over 37,000 votes yet to count.

By Roger Straw, November 09, 2022
[See Nov. 10 update: Benicia City Council: About that big number of outstanding ballots – R.S.]

Kari Birdseye, candidate for Benicia City Council

The Solano County Registrar of Voters posted new daily vote totals at 5:21 PM tonight, giving Kari Birdseye a narrow lead of only 42 votes.

The good news is that outstanding mail-in ballots leaned in her favor today. If that trend continues over the next few days of ballot updates, we will celebrate her election to Benicia’s City Council, along with our friend Terry Scott, who continues to lead the field of 5 candidates.

Here is the current updated count:

Click to enlarge. Read the figures at right in green.

Stay tuned – I’ll keep you posted here.

Previous update:
Benicia City Council race: Wait, it’s not over yet!

Benicia City Council race: Wait, it’s not over yet!

Benicia City Council race REALLY IS too close to call – over 53,000 votes yet to count.

By Roger Straw, November 09, 2022
[See Nov. 10 update: Benicia City Council: About that big number of outstanding ballots – R.S.]

As it stands, only 57 votes separate third place Kari Birdseye from second place in Benicia’s City Council election, a 5-way contest where the top two vote-getters win a seat on Council.

Solano County Registrar of Voters office reports that there are 51,757 outstanding vote by mail ballots and another 1,671 provisional ballots yet to be counted.

Note that these are not Benicia ballots, but countywide. I’m working on a method of estimating the percentage of the 53,000 outstanding ballots that are Benicia voters.

It does seem to me completely possible to gain 57 votes out of over 53,000 county-wide.

Solano County Registrar John Gardner stated in an email that the County “will update totals at end of business day each day until complete, and will update these outstanding ballot numbers” daily at https://www.solanocounty.com/depts/rov/November_8_2022_Election_Results/election_results.asp. “The County is scheduled to certify our results on November 30th,” Gardner said.

In an earlier post, I was too quick to presume the outcome of the election, bemoaning that we would likely have an all-male Council when the vote was finalized.

Stay tuned – I’ll keep you posted here.

Benicia City Council race too close to call, likely outcome is an all-male Council

Benicia City Council race too close to call as incumbents surge in Election Day results

Benicia City Council candidates Christina Strawbridge, Lionel Largaespada, William Innes, Terry Scott and Kari Birdseye appeared at a candidates forum at the Benicia Senior Center on Wednesday. Photo: Scott Morris.

The Vallejo Sun, by Scott Morris, Nov 08, 2022

BENICIA – Early results for the Benicia City Council election show a tight race with two challengers leading in early vote by mail results, but the two incumbents led in Election Day results.

Challengers Terry Scott and Kari Birdseye took the lead early in the evening, with Scott and Birdseye in first and second place. But incumbents Lionel Largaespada and Christina Strawbridge gained in Election Day results and Largaespada surged into second place late Tuesday.

Click image to enlarge. Read TOTALS at right in green.

By 10:28 p.m., the last results released by the Solano County Registrar of Voters on Tuesday, Scott still led with 25% of the vote, followed by Largaespada with 23.4%, Birdseye with 23%, and Strawbridge with 21%. Retired teacher William Innes — who said during a candidate forum he intended to vote for Scott and Birdseye — had 7% of the vote. The county said it will release further results late Wednesday.

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 oil manufacturer 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.

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.

Tax measure also falls behind

Measure R – which seeks to raise Benicia’s sales tax – also had an early lead in Tuesday night’s returns but fell behind in Election Day results. If passed, the measure would raise Bencia’s sales tax by three-quarters of a cent, to 9.125%.

As of 10:28 p.m., the measure was failing 48-52%.

The Benicia City Council voted 4-0 to place the tax measure on the ballot during its July 5 meeting. City manager Erik Upson argued the city needed the extra revenue as its infrastructure was aging and it lacked the funds to replace, repair or maintain it. Largaespada opposed it.

The council had originally considered making the ballot measure for a special tax that would only be for road repair, which would have required a two-thirds majority to pass. Measure R is a general tax that can be spent for any purpose and requires only a simple majority of voters.

Urban Growth Boundary measure passes by huge margin

Benicia also appeared to have voted to extend its Urban Growth Boundary — a historical decision that prevents the city from expanding into the hills north of the city. It’s a renewal of a 20-year stay that voters originally set in 2003.

It only needs a simple majority (50% and one more vote) to pass.

As of 10 p.m., Measure K was leading 82-18%.