Connie Boardman, Joe Carchio, Matthew Harper and Joe Shaw had the lead as of Wednesday morning in the race for Huntington Beach City Council, although the city clerk said some votes have yet to be counted.
Boardman, a former mayor and councilwoman, led all contenders with 9.3% of the vote, followed by Carchio, the race's lone incumbent, with 8.8%. Harper, a trustee for the Huntington Beach Union High School District, came in third with 7.2%, while Shaw, one of Boardman's running mates in the Team Huntington Beach coalition, had 6.8%.
The Orange County Registrar of Voters' website called the results unofficial, and City Clerk Joan Flynn said provisional ballots still needed to be counted.
"In the last two elections, the provisionals did not change the outcome," she said. "But I don't know how many there are [this year]."
Provisional ballots, she said, can be ballots cast by people who vote at a different polling place than the one where they are registered; in-person ballots cast by people who are registered as mail-in voters, but fail to surrender their mail-in ballot at the polls; and ballots cast by people whose names have been mistakenly removed from the voting rolls.
The fifth-highest vote-getter, Planning Commissioner Barbara Delgleize, had 391 fewer votes than Shaw. Unless she or another candidate gets a surge through provisional ballots, Boardman, Carchio, Harper and Shaw will be the four winning candidates.
Boardman, who served on the council from 2000 to 2004 and is a former mayor, said she didn't expect the order to change.
"I am very gratified to be the top vote-getter," she said. "I was very surprised by that. It's always very hard to get a higher vote total than an incumbent, but we worked really hard and we had a lot of community support. So I'm very gratified and humbled."
Harper said he was still keeping an eye on the provisional ballots to see if Shaw or Delgleize triumphed, but he considered his own lead secure.
"I think a lot of voters responded to my record on the Huntington Beach Union High School District Board of Trustees," he said. "It's a conservative record. It's a thoughtful record."
Shaw said he was waiting for the final results to declare a victory, but didn't expect the remaining votes to change the field. He added that he was proud to be a possible winner, given his competition.
"It was a close race, and everyone did a really great job," Shaw said. "There were a lot of candidates who had unexpected showings, some who people are surprised didn't do as well as they should have, and I'm just lucky. I worked hard."
Huntington Beach's Treasurer Shari Freidenrich won a county seat as treasurer-tax collector. Freidenrich led opponent Keith Rodenhuis by 44,514 votes. Freidenrich pulled in 263,281 votes versus Rodenhuis' 218,767.
Freidenrich was elected as Huntington Beach's treasurer in 1996 and reelected three more times. She was elected to hold the position until 2012.
In Huntington Beach's city attorney race, incumbent Jennifer McGrath was ahead of challenger T. Gabe Houston with 72.6% of the vote.
Huntington Beach's four measures on the ballot drew mixed results. Voters favored Measure N, which would amend the city charter, by 54.8%, while Measure P, which would lower the utility user tax for residents, had a 68% approval. Measure O, which would change the city's infrastructure funding, and Measure Q, which would place two cell phone antennas in public parks, were opposed by 54.6% and 56.2%, respectively.
Lori Burrett, the assistant treasurer of the Committee for No on Measure Q, joined her group in rallying Monday outside a T-Mobile store in Huntington Beach. She said she was "elated" when the early results came in.
"We are extremely proud of our community and volunteers for working so hard to give a voice to the fact that we want responsible placement of future cell towers and that we do not want them by our children or in our residential parks," Burrett said.