In what at times became a bit of a brawl among all parties involved, the incumbents in Atascadero swept their bid for re-election. An insider-versus-outsider showdown characterized the race, where the three incumbents running for re-election had key support of the Republican Party and a good chunk of the city’s behind-the-scenes political muscle.
Mayor Tom O’Malley beat 35-year-old challenger Charlie Scovell in an election that, at times, got a little personal. O’Malley brought in 59 percent of the vote to Scovell’s 40 percent, and will remain in the mayor’s chair for another two years.
- PHOTO BY KAORI FUNAHASHI
- INCUMBENTS UNITE!: Brian Sturtevant (left) and Heather Moreno (right) celebrated their re-election victory at the Atascadero Republican Headquarters in Atascadero.
The City Council race was the most hotly contested, with all eyes focused on a scrappy four-person fight for the two available seats. Incumbents Heather Moreno and Brian Sturtevant both held on, fending off a formidable challenge from Len Colamarino and Chuck Ward, who’ve both run before and have served on the planning commission (Colamarino still does).
Because voters chose two candidates, Colamarino was considered to have an added fighting chance because he’s known to be more moderate-to-liberal compared to the other three candidates. In the end, however, Moreno (who received a comfortable 32 percent) and Sturtevant (who received 26 percent) got a stamp of validation, while Colamarino (who received 23 percent) and Ward (19 percent) won favor among some sectors of the community, but not quite enough.
This was Moreno’s first election, after she was appointed in 2012 when O’Malley chose her to fill his vacant council seat after he moved over to become mayor. Moreno told New Times that the experience was a humbling one, and she was grateful for all the support.
“So many people from so many parts of Atascadero have been so helpful,” she said.
-- Melody DeMeritt - former city council member, Morro Bay