Following a heated Huntington Beach City Council race, incumbent Jill Hardy and Planning Commissioners Lyn Semeta and Patrick Brenden won when final, unofficial results were tallied Tuesday night.
High-density development, public safety and government transparency have been among the hot-button issues for the group of 10 candidates, which includes one incumbent, a former mayor, three planning commissioners and five newcomers.
Councilwoman Hardy, who has had a history of opposing high-density development, said earlier Tuesday evening that she had a positive outlook on the night but was remaining cautious.
“Good news so far,” she said. “There’s still a lot of votes to be counted but definitely a good start.”
Semeta, who has been a popular candidate among residents on social media and stood up against special interest groups, sees this as a “victory for grassroots campaigning.”
“This lets people know they really can make a difference without a highly financed campaign,” she said from a celebration party at Mama’s on 39, a Huntington Beach restaurant.
Brenden, who will be the fourth Chamber of Commerce-endorsed candidate on the council, also said he was “optimistic” but “not overconfident” during the early vote-counting.
“It’s a long way from the finish line,” he said from an election party at his home. “The initial results are very positive. Obviously the folks here are very excited.”
Brenden, a first-time candidate, raised the most money at more than $58,000, including a $27,500 loan to himself, from Jan. 1 through Oct. 22, according to disclosure forms filed by the candidates.
Semeta raised the second-most at nearly $38,000, including a $7,650 loan to herself.
The other candidates in the race for City Council are former Mayor Joe Carchio; Planning Commissioner Edward Pinchiff; businessman Mark Rolfes; financial advisor Ron Sterud; certified public accountant Mariann Ettorre; registered nurse Karen Leighton; and student Amory Hanson.