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Election 2020: Tito Ortiz, Dan Kalmick and Natalie Moser win Huntington Beach City Council seats

Tito Ortiz is shown speaking at a rally at the Huntington Beach Pier on Oct. 24.
Tito Ortiz, shown speaking at a rally at the Huntington Beach Pier on Oct. 24, has been elected to the Huntington Beach City Council.
(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

The “Huntington Beach Bad Boy” has earned a spot on the dais.

Tito Ortiz, a former mixed martial arts star who had that nickname in his fighting career, was one of three elected to the Huntington Beach City Council on Election Day.

Ortiz, a lifelong resident of Huntington Beach who ran as a conservative, is joined by Democrats Dan Kalmick and Natalie Moser as the three candidates who Surf City voters have chosen for three vacant spots on the City Council.

Ortiz, who ran with the slogan “Make Huntington Beach Safe Again,” was well out in front among the 15 candidates, with 37,015 votes as of an update at 5 p.m. Thursday. That’s 14.42% of the vote.

Ortiz, who did not return messages seeking comment, said Monday night that he was “going to win, 100%.” He backed it up.

“This is not just going in just to fight to make money or fight for my name,” said Ortiz, 45, of running for City Council. “This is fighting for my community, this is fighting for my children’s future, and that’s important to me … In my fight career, I was known as the Huntington Beach Bad Boy. That was my gimmick I sold, and I made millions and millions [of dollars] upon that. Now I can use my education skills that I’ve learned through college and life lessons, to give back and let people know who I truly am.

“I’m a fighter like no other, but I’m not an aggressive person. I don’t like to fight, but I understand that it’s an opportunity for me to do well for myself and my children. This is my opportunity to protect them and protect my community.”

Joe Biden was leading Donald Trump, 54% to 44.2%, Wednesday morning, with a margin of more than 125,000 votes, the Orange County registrar of voters office said.

He said solving the city’s homeless problems would be a priority. On Monday, Huntington Beach had a ribbon cutting for its new homeless Navigation Center.

Dan Kalmick was one of three candidates elected to the Huntington Beach City Council on Tuesday.
Dan Kalmick was one of three candidates elected to the Huntington Beach City Council on Tuesday.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

Kalmick, a planning commissioner, had 27,974 votes as of Thursday night, or 10.90% of the total. Moser, the chairwoman of the Huntington Beach Human Relations Task Force, had 27,617 votes, representing 10.76% of the total.

Kalmick said he sent a congratulatory text to Ortiz. Unlike Ortiz, who ran for public office for the first time, this was Kalmick’s fourth time running for City Council after failed attempts in 2008, 2010 and 2018.

“I was 25 when I ran [the first time], because I didn’t really know how to get involved in local government,” said Kalmick, now 38. “I ran again in 2018, trying to get elected based on my experience on Planning Commission, and we had some false starts. I ran as ‘no party preference’ instead of a Democrat like I did this time, just because I thought I’d be able to reach out to more voters that way. It turns out that everyone’s pretty tribal.”

As of 5 p.m. Thursday, Michelle Steel has 4,774 more votes than Rep. Harley Rouda in the election for the 48th Congressional District, which includes Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach and Newport Beach.

Kalmick noted that he was the first millennial to get elected to the City Council.

“I’m really excited to bring a new point of view and move our city forward, get rid of some of the dysfunction we’ve had,” he said. “I’m excited to start working on that.”

Natalie Moser was one of three candidates elected to the Huntington Beach City Council on Tuesday.
Natalie Moser was one of three candidates elected to the Huntington Beach City Council on Tuesday.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

Moser, 44, said she spent much of Wednesday in bed after getting just a couple of hours of sleep Tuesday night. She had a Zoom session for her supporters that went until 12:30 a.m.

“To be in this moment is a little bit surreal, but I am honored that the people of Huntington Beach have placed their trust in me,” she said. “The results of the election show just how divided we are, but I think that our top priority needs to be healing our community. I promise to work for everybody in the city, to make it a place that we’re all proud to call home.”

Other candidates remained well behind on Thursday, leaving Ortiz, Kalmick and Moser to celebrate their victories.

Gracey Van Der Mark, a finance commissioner who ran on an unofficial conservative ticket with Ortiz and Casey McKeon, was in fourth place with 20,999 votes. Oscar Rodriguez, a community organizer who was, along with Kalmick and Moser, endorsed by the Democratic Party of Orange County, sat in fifth place with 19,818 votes.

Ortiz, Kalmick and Moser would join a City Council that also includes Mayor Pro Tem Kim Carr, Mike Posey, Barbara Delgleize and Erik Peterson. Carr, a Democrat like Kalmick and Moser, openly campaigned for Kalmick. It is Carr’s turn to be Huntington Beach mayor in 2021.

Check dailypilot.com for continuing election coverage and results.

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