A closely fought race for the 15th Assembly seat brought candidates, supporters and other luminaries out on Election Night.
On the Republican side, San Ramon Mayor Abram Wilson held a party for his supporters at Club Sport San Ramon. More than 100 people were there at 10 p.m., anxiously waiting reports from the Contra Costa, Alameda, Sacramento and San Joaquin counties.
Wilson spent the majority of his time talking to supporters and meeting with members of the Danville Town Council as well as outgoing Assemblyman Guy Houston. The candidate was all smiles talking to those in attendance and noted he was excited to see the support he's received.
"It's a great night. I'm just so glad to see all these people who've come out here to be with me tonight," he said.
Also at Club Sport were Danville Town Council incumbents Newell Arnerich and Candace Andersen. Even though the vote count was still sparse, Arnerich, Andersen and fellow incumbent Mike Doyle were well ahead in the race over challenger Marianne Bordogna.
Andersen, who faced a contentious election season due to her support for the controversial Proposition 8, said she was glad that the elections were over and they could get to work on the tasks still facing Danville.
"I think we've accomplished a lot, but we still have more things to do, like the Vets Hall." Andersen said other issues that they will be looking at in the years ahead will be the Danville Hotel property, as well as shepherding the town through the current economic turmoil gripping the nation.
"I'm confident that the Town Council will do all we can to continue to meet the needs of the community," she said.
Arnerich, who will rotate into the mayor's position Dec. 2, looked at the ballots that had been counted at that point and expressed confidence that their lead would bear out.
"Historically, the absentees kind of reveal the ultimate outcome," he said. "I think it's just an indicator that we've done a good job and Danville's run, from a financial point of view, very cautiously and conservatively."
Arnerich said part of what makes the council so effective is the wide variety of viewpoints represented. "Our council is diverse, and we've found a way to work together. Ninety-nine percent of the time we're on the same page."
He agreed with Andersen on the issues facing the town but had a few others he wants to see addressed as well. He said he would like to see some streamlining of the building and permitting processes in the town and is concerned about the ongoing effort to renovate the north end of Hartz.
He said the economy is having an effect on the town, and he hopes residents do what they can to help preserve those businesses that make their home in Danville. "This will be the most important year for Danville residents to support Danville businesses," he said. "Don't go up to Walnut Creek to do your shopping, do it here in Danville. We have a lot of great businesses here in town and some of them are at risk."
To the north, at the Round Hill Country Club, supporters of the Democratic candidate for Assembly District 15, Joan Buchanan, an Alamo resident, danced and chatted in one of the main ballrooms at the country club.
Buchanan's staff had projectors set up throughout the ballroom. Two showed television news channels following the Presidential race and other state and national elections. In the center of the room, a series of laptops were hooked into another projector, showing statistics from the four counties that make up District 15.
At 11 p.m., the numbers favored Buchanan in all four counties and spirits were running high. Many of the supporters bobbed along to the sounds of the live band playing in the ballroom while others sat and talked at tables just outside the room.
The candidate was not in evidence at 11 p.m., but shortly after she came out to cheers from those in attendance. She spent several minutes talking to supporters before going onstage to take the microphone.
Despite her lead at the time, Buchanan stayed cautiously optimistic. "I think it's going to be a late night," she said. She then went on to thank all of the people who've been a part of the campaign.
She talked about the funds raised for her run for Assembly. "We raised more money than any other Assembly race in the state," she said. "That takes effort and you all were a part of it."
Buchanan then talked about the multitude of volunteers who spent time going door to door, making phone calls, doing all the jobs needed to keep the campaign going. "It truly takes an army of volunteers," she said, "committed people to get a campaign running. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart."
Contra Costa County had a record turnout for the election. Out of 527,145 voters, 370,775 votes were cast, or 70.3 percent.
Measure WW, placed on the ballot by the East Bay Regional Park District, passed with 71 percent of the vote; it needed a two-thirds majority to win. The measure extends a property tax to finance $500 million in bonds during the next 20 years to continue the district's land-buying campaign. The district has increased by 34,000 acres in the last two decades.
"I think voters realize that this was an investment in the future," said Park District Board Member Beverly Lane, who represents the Danville area. "It will really help save the last open spaces in the East Bay and it's really for our children and our grandchildren."
U.S. Congressional District 11
(D) Jerry McNerney - 130,678 votes - 55.2%
(R) Dean Andal - 105,426 votes - 44.8%
California State Assembly District 15
(D) Joan Buchanan - 99,833 votes - 52.9%
(R) Abram Wilson - 89,013 votes - 47.1%
Danville Town Council
Newell Arnerich - 13,151 votes - 30.5%
Candace Andersen - 12,777 votes - 29.63%
Mike Doyle - 12,849 votes - 29.8%
Marianne Bordogna - 4,226 votes - 9.8%
Write-in - 121 votes - .28%
Yes - 504,729 votes - 71%
No - 202,513 votes - 29%