Like Atascadero, Paso Robles saw the incumbents prevail in another closely fought election, at least as of press time. There was a quick round of musical chairs—Councilmember Steve Martin will become mayor after running for the seat unopposed, and current mayor Duane Picanco will return to the City Council, after opting against running again for mayor.
Voters chose two candidates to fill the two available seats: As of press time, Councilmember John Hamon has a comfortable lead, while Picanco is clinging to the edge of his seat by a seven-vote lead over Jim Reed, a .07 percent difference. Pamela Avila was nipping at Reed’s heels, trailing by 23 votes. Steve Gregory received 18.5 percent of the vote.
The 2014 election appears to be the second time Picanco dug deep and eked out a victory—he was first elected mayor in 2008 in a tight race, winning by just 41 votes.
Mayor-elect Martin will be hitting the ground running—it was clear early on that it would be a one-man race, prompting him to join Atascadero mayor and childhood friend Tom O’Malley in a sort of dual-campaign, where the two hope to combine their efforts to bring key services and resources to their respective North County cities.
-- Melody DeMeritt - former city council member, Morro Bay