WHITTIER — Mayor Joe Vinatieri has won another two years in office based on preliminary results for the April 10 municipal election, but longtime Councilman Bob Henderson was trailing challenger Henry Bouchet in the Second District and Councilman Fernando Dutra maintained a slight lead over challenger Lizette Escobedo in the Fourth District.
Marsha Morales of the city clerk’s office estimated there were another 1,000 absentee ballots and other votes waiting to be counted. A final total will not come until after a canvass by the Los Angeles County Registrar of Voters.
Vinatieri, an attorney and lifelong resident first appointed to the council in 2006, received 5,301 votes, 73.8 percent, in citywide balloting, besting three challengers.
Raquel McLeod, a business woman running for the first time, was second with 1,027 votes, followed by Rolando Cano with 663 votes and L. Leon Savage with 191.
Bouchot, the executive director of a veterans group, received 990 votes, about 40 percent, in the Second District to lead Henderson, who had 889 votes.
Henderson, who operates an insurance agency, served on the council from 1978 to 1984 and returned in 1990 and has been on the council ever since.
Other Second District candidates were Irella Perez, a Whittier school administrator, 478 votes; Eric Leckey, 64; and Vincent McLeod IV, husband of Raquel McLeod, 51 votes.
In the Fourth District, Dutra, a business owner first appointed to the council in 2012, received 1,235 votes, followed by 1,130 votes for Escobedo, community affairs director for Service Employees International Union Local 201.
Besides the at-large mayoral vote, residents of a council district may only vote for candidates running in that district.
It was the last local municipal election to be held in April. The next municipal election is expected to be in March 2020, under a state law that requires cities to align their elections with either the state primary or general election in even-numbered years.
California’s primary is currently in June but is expected to be changed to March in 2020.
The city’s district system was established as part of a settlement to a lawsuit in which groups alleged that the at-large voting was unfair to minorities.
Residents in 2016 approved a city charter change to that effect.