After tallying absentee ballots from Tuesday's election, county officials have announced the top two Riverside City Council candidates who will face off in a January runoff election for the 7th Ward, which includes the city's westernmost areas.
Former mayor and councilwoman Terry Frizzel will compete Jan. 13 with retired police officer Steve Adams. Frizzel, a 75-year-old real estate agent, said her experience makes her the right person for the job.
"I've been very obviously connected with residents out here for all these, almost 40 years," she said. "I've worked with them on so many different issues."
Adams, 51, a financial planner, said his experience as a police officer and a businessman will help him lower the ward's crime rate and attract jobs. "I was very pleased, and I'm looking forward to the runoff," he said. "I feel confident that I am the best candidate for ward seven."
Frizzel and Adams were in the lead after votes were counted on election day, but they and a third candidate, retired educator Mary Lou Morales, were separated by only 22 votes.
The separation grew after elections officials tallied absentee ballots that were turned in on election day. Frizzel led with 819 votes, followed by Adams, with 796 votes. Morales fell 10 votes shy of Adams, with 786 votes. Creq Quiroz, a Teamsters representative, received 72 votes.
Morales said she is considering asking for a recount. However, she said she does not want to do anything that would cause a rift in the community.
"I am certainly more than willing to accept the will of the people," she said. "I'll do whatever it is to keep the ward moving. I ran to improve it, not divide it.."
Provisional ballots, filed by people who showed up at a polling place but were left off the voting rolls, must still be counted next week, but county Registrar of Voters Mischelle Townsend said there aren't enough to alter the results.