Santa Barbara voters appear to have chosen newcomers Kristen Sneddon and Eric Friedman and incumbent Gregg Hart to fill three seats on the City Council.
All three were holding solid leads based on vote totals as of 1 a.m. Wednesday.
It’s the second district City Council election for Santa Barbara, and the first for the District 4, 5 and 6 seats on the seven-member board.
Kristen Sneddon was holding a commanding lead in the three-person race for District 4, which includes the neighborhoods of East San Roque, Upper East, the Riviera and Eucalyptus Hill.
Results from the City Clerk’s Office showed Sneddon had 51.0 percent of the vote, while Jay Higgins had 36.4 percent and Jim Scafide had 12.7 percent.
“I was gearing up for it to be close, but at this point I am excited,” Sneddon said early in the evening. “I understand that numbers can change until their final, but I think it’s looking good.”
She said she was a little shocked and overwhelmed at the early results.
“I really tried to listen to District 4 residents,” she said. “I am honored.”
Sneddon said she was inspired to get involved by the March for Science rallies, the movement for women and people with science backgrounds to take a role in politics. Important issues to her are long-term water planning and management, and the Average-Unit Density Incentive Program projects, she told Noozhawk.
“People understand that I have a different perspective to bring,” said Sneddon, who is a Santa Barbara City College environmental geology instructor.
Votes % Kristen Sneddon 2,921 51.0 Jay Higgins 2,084 36.4 Jim Scafide 726 12.7
Higgins, Scafide and Sneddon all campaigned hard for the seat, and fundraised more than $190,000 collectively.
Higgins is a Santa Barbara planning commissioner and longtime planning consultant, Sneddon is an environmental geology instructor at Santa Barbara City College and Scafide is a local attorney.
“She ran a good race,” Higgins said of Sneddon. “We tried to appeal to both sides.”
Eric Friedman was holding a solid lead against Warner McGrew for the open seat representing District 5 on the City Council.
As of 1 a.m. Wednesday, Friedman led the race with 56.3 percent of the vote, with McGrew garnering 43.6 percent.
“It’s an exciting night and I’m thankful to have the opportunity to serve on the council, and that the voters put their trust in me to be part of the next leadership of the city,” Friedman said of his early lead. “I’m excited to move forward and be part of this great city that my family and I love.”
Votes % Eric Friedman 2,395 56.3 Warner McGrew 1,930 44.6
Friedman served as an aide to for former First District county Supervisor Salud Carbajal and his predecessor, Naomi Schwartz, while McGrew is a retired Santa Barbara City Fire chief.
“My heart is in the right place, and I love the city of Santa Barbara,” McGrew said Tuesday night. “I’m hopeful that the new council will lead with vision and direction.”
District 5 includes San Roque, Hitchcock, Upper State, Samarkand, Hidden Valley and Campanil areas, and the Santa Barbara Municipal Airport.
Incumbent Councilman Gregg Hart cruised to an easy victory Tuesday against two challengers, Jack Ucciferri and Aaron Solis, for the District 6 seat on the City Council.
As of 1 a.m., Hart had secured 56.3 percent of the vote.
Hart called the election a clean sweep for Democrats.
“The thing I heard from District 6 voters is that we are all one city,” he said. “We need to work together.”
Ucciferri, a realtor, was trailing far behind with 28.7 percent of the vote.
Votes % Gregg Hart 1,578 56.3 Jack Ucciferri 804 28.7 Aaron Solis 421 15.0
Solis, activities director and boys’ golf coach at San Marcos High School, had 15.0 percent.
Hart will be serving his fourth term on the City Council.
Hart — who is a public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments — served for eight years on City Council in the 1990s and 2000s, took a break, and then returned four years ago.
District 6 covers the city’s downtown area.
Click here for Noozhawk coverage of the Santa Barbara mayor’s race.
Click here to see the results of the Measure C sales-tax rate increase.
Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina contributed to this story.
— Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.