Incumbent Etta Waterfield, along with newcomer Gloria Soto, appear to be on their way to winning Tuesday’s historic race for the two seats open on the Santa Maria City Council.
As of 11:34 p.m. Tuesday night, Soto had jumped to a dramatic lead of just 44 votes over incumbent Michael Moats (1.032 to 988).
Challenger Raymond Acosta is a distant third with 150 votes.
Soto had previously trailed Moats throughout the evening, starting when the first numbers were released shortly after 8 p.m.
“I look forward to working with our current city council members and bringing the change we need to Santa Maria,” said Soto. “We need to focus on affordable housing, we need to revitalize downtown, bringing more abundant jobs to Santa Maria and supporting our youth and our families, so I look forward to kick starting that.
The 29-year-old Soto is in line to become the youngest woman to ever be elected to the City Council.
Soto would take the seat for District 3, which includes the southwest portion of the city.
During the last updated vote count on Tuesday night, Waterfield was leading challenger Rafael Gutierrez by 1,001 votes (2,692 to 1,691).
“I think I’ve done a pretty good job for the last four years and then as a planning commissioner for 11 years, so I just want to stay on track with everyone in the city,” said Waterfield.
Waterfield and Gutierrez were vying for a seat to represent newly created District 4, which represents the southeast portion of Santa Maria.