Santa Maria’s first-ever district City Council election was one for the history books, and in a hard-fought, nail-biter of race, two polar opposite candidates both managed to land seats on the council.
Despite hopes–and fears–that the city’s new district-based voting system would churn out high marks for left-leaning candidates, Santa Maria voters clutched tightly to the status quo on Nov. 6, voting in incumbent Councilmember Etta Waterfield by a vast margin in District 4, and barely pushing rookie candidate Gloria Soto through and into a council seat to represent the city’s District 3.
Soto, a lifelong Santa Maria resident and nonprofit development manager, beat out retail service manager Raymond Acosta, who garnered only about 7 percent of the votes, and incumbent Michael Moats, who had a small lead for most of election night. Soto eventually pulled ahead after midnight, and as of the morning of Nov. 7, she had about a 2 percent lead over Moats, according to the semi-official election night results.
By: Kasey Bubnash