Update: Reelection of council incumbents all but assured, Measure CT will likely pass

by Steven Felschundneff | steven@claremont-courier.com

On an Election Night when the nation was evenly divided, voters in Claremont appear to have overwhelmingly reelected two incumbent council members, while a third held onto a small but comfortable lead.

Update: As of 3:35 a.m. today, Council member Jennifer Stark had an all but insurmountable lead over her District 3 challenger, Maura Carter, 877 votes to 301. In District 4, Mayor Jed Leano’s lead shrunk overnight, but the margin over challenger Aundré Johnson — 956 to 744 — still all but assures his reelection. Mayor Pro tem Ed Reece made some gains overnight, widening the gap between him and Peter Yao, 729 to 606.

Measure CT, which would authorize the city to tax cannabis businesses if and when they are allowed to operate in town, was comfortably ahead with 61% of the vote.

Although it’s far too early to call any of the races, in previous Claremont municipal elections, early results held true until the last vote was counted.

During an election watch party at Espiau’s restaurant in the Village, Johnson, who is a film producer and director, compared campaigning to making a movie that has just wrapped up. Still running on adrenaline from the final few days of campaigning, he said running for council was a rewarding experience.

A crowd of about 50 supporters crowded the bar area of the restaurant, wearing stickers with Johnson’s name on them while chatting over food and drinks.

Across town at Sanctuary Coffee the mood was exuberant as Leano thanked his supporters during a brief victory speech. He attributed the apparent positive outcome to the many hours of grassroots campaigning from his largely volunteer staff and their get out the vote effort, which was conducted face-to-face while canvassing neighborhoods.

Leano also made it clear that a vote for his reelection was an endorsement for moving Claremont forward to became a more inclusive city rather than being satisfied with the status quo.

“It’s not because of the tally. It’s not because of the vote total. It’s because, look at what we built. We built something absolutely amazing. We have put forward a vision of a more inclusive, just and equitable city. We have a track record of success and we will continue build on that success. But more importantly, I believe we can build something amazing here together. Look at what we have done, and if this is what we have done in just five short years, I am really excited bout what we can do for the next four,” Leano said.

For full results of the local election, see this week’s edition of the Claremont COURIER.

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