3rd Council Seat Undecided in Santa Clarita

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Two incumbents have reclaimed their City Council posts here, but the third must wait until 200 outstanding ballots are counted to know if she erased an eight-vote lead by a former high school district superintendent.

Incumbent Jill Klajic and H. Clyde Smyth both received 13% of the total votes cast for the council--with Smyth ahead 3,740 to 3,732 votes. In the election, 10,452 people voted.

About 175 absentee ballots and 25 provisional votes--those cast by residents not listed on their precinct's voting roll but believed to be registered--were turned in to polling places on election day. They will be counted today or Friday, after voters' signatures are verified, said city public information officer Gail Foy.

In the meantime, neither Klajic or Smyth are claiming victory.

"My position is I have not won anything," said Smyth, 62, who served as superintendent of the William S. Hart Union High School District for 16 years.

The two candidates represent very different philosophies. Klajic supports growth control and environmental causes over business interests, while Smyth is pro-development and the infrastructure benefits it brings a community.

"I realized it was going to be close and tight and difficult to beat an incumbent . . . ," Smyth said.

"We knew it was going to be tight because we went in with a lot less money than other people had," said Klajic, 47. "I'm surprised that it's this close."

Contributing to the narrow margin was the lowest turnout in Santa Clarita's six-year history. Fewer than one of every six of Santa Clarita's 65,287 registered voters came to the polls.

If Smyth and Klajic tie, there will be a runoff election, Foy said. Anyone may request a recount and that person will be responsible for footing the bill.

Smyth said he would need to examine the potential time and cost of a recount. Klajic said she doesn't want one, but her campaign supporters probably will.

"Let the chips fall where they may," said Klajic. "I don't want to cause any more money (to be spent) or trouble."

In the decided council seats, Jo Anne Darcy won her third term in office, earning 5,378 votes, or 18.7% of the total vote. More than half of the 10,252 Santa Clarita voters cast one of their three tallies for Darcy and she was the top vote-getter in 40 of this city's 51 precincts and among the absentee ballots.

The 62-year-old field deputy for Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich talked Wednesday about putting the election behind her to focus on the city's budget, downtown revitalization and traffic issues.

"There are a lot of things to do. I'm recharged," said Darcy. "It just gives me that surge of confidence to have people behind me."

Carl Boyer placed second for his third term with 4,147 votes, or 14.5% of those cast. Boyer, 54, credited his public service record for his success but was undecided if the low voter turnout means people are happy with the current council.

"I think if the council is doing well, people should come out and say so (at the polls)," Boyer said.

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