Judy Franco, an incumbent of 30 years, held a commanding lead over challenger Loretta Zimmerman in the Newport-Mesa Unified school board race for Trustee Area 5, according to preliminary election returns released late Tuesday evening.
"The budget is going to be our biggest issue," Franco said.
Costa Mesa Councilwoman Katrina Foley was also ahead of four-year incumbent Michael Collier in her bid for Trustee Area 2.
Foley's attempt to become a school board member has left many wondering whether she will hold two seats simultaneously or give one of them up.
Foley indicated Tuesday night that she was not sure what she would do if she emerged the victor in the school board race, but in the past she pointed out that many politicians hold two seats. Costa Mesa City Councilman Gary Monahan, who also sits on the Costa Mesa Sanitary District board, is one local example.
Collier ran on a platform of erasing the negative image of Westside schools in Costa Mesa, while Foley was running on her political résumé and experience volunteering in her children's schools.
But it was Zimmerman's tough stance against Franco that seemed to hold sway over all the lawns and green expanse of the district as Zimmerman in her advertising urged voters that "30 years was enough," in reference to Franco's tenure as an elected official.
Franco fired back that now was not the time to elect somebody new, given all of Sacramento's problems.
In all, there were four open seats for the school board, but two of them were unopposed: those held by school board President Karen Yelsey in Trustee Area 4 and school board member Walt Davenport in Trustee Area 7.