Montgomery-Steppe becomes first Black woman on county board
Driving the news: Montgomery-Steppe had 61% of the vote, good for a 17,535 vote lead over Amy Reichert, a leader of the pandemic-era group ReOpen San Diego, out of the 79,737 votes counted as of 11pm Tuesday.
What they're saying: Montgomery-Steppe delivered a victory speech to supporters alongside California Secretary of State Shirley Weber and County Board Chair Nora Vargas.
- "I'm going to take the day tomorrow, but other than that, it's go time," she told Axios.
- She said she's eager to continue working on law enforcement issues, and to begin working with the county's social safety net.
- "At the county, we get to take a more holistic view of the system," she said.
- Montgomery-Steppe's ascension would break a 2-2 partisan deadlock on the board ahead of key county decisions, such as the selection of its next chief administrative officer.
- Her victory would be history-making, as she's the first Black woman to win a seat on the county board. Leon Williams became the first Black person elected to the board in 1982.
By the numbers: Montgomery-Steppe's early lead was based on votes cast by mail ahead of Election Day.
- Vote counting will continue for days, as the Registrar approves provisional ballots and late-arriving mail votes come in. A winner won't be certified until Dec. 7.
- The Registrar estimates there are 30,000 uncounted ballots remaining.
What we're watching: Montgomery-Steppe's win creates a vacancy on the City Council to complete her term through 2026. The city could set that special election to coincide with the already-scheduled March primary.
- Activist Shane Harris and mayoral staffer Chida Warren-Darby have already suggested on social media they could enter the race.
- The Union-Tribune also speculated that Montgomery-Steppe's former chief of staff Henry Foster, and nonprofit leaders Francine Maxwell and Tariq Harris could be potential candidates.
Zoom out: Voters weighed in on two other decisions in Tuesday's special election.
- Bart Miesfeld holds a narrow lead in the race for Chula Vista city attorney, with 39.41% of the vote over Marco Verdugo's 38.26% and Dan Smith Diaz's 22.32%, as of 11pm Tuesday. That race won't be decided for days, if not weeks.
- Voters in both the Rainbow and Fallbrook water districts overwhelmingly opted to break away from the San Diego County Water Authority, based on preliminary results. The "yes" side of both questions exceeded 94%.
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