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Del Campo Claims Win in Council Race

Elections: He edges incumbent Judy Lazar, with some ballots uncounted. Three school board challengers appear victorious.


THOUSAND OAKS — City Council candidate Dan Del Campo appears to have held his edge over incumbent Councilwoman Judy Lazar, while Tim Stephens strengthened his hold Monday on one of three school board seats, according to a final count of absentee ballots from Tuesday's election.

Some 3,000 countywide absentee ballots remain to be counted by the Ventura County Elections Division, but the leading candidates in several close local races have claimed victory. Officials expect to finish counting ballots by noon today.

The unofficial results show that the Conejo Valley Unified School District race appears settled, with Pat Phelps, Mary Jo Del Campo and Stephens as the top three finishers. Out of the 11 candidates vying for the three spots, Phelps now has 15,152 votes or 15.9%, her lead growing by nearly half of a percentage point.

Mary Jo Del Campo, Dan Del Campo's wife, is in second place with 13,657 votes or 14.3%, a small decrease, and Stephens has 12,807 votes or 13.4%, still ahead of incumbent Elaine McKearn, the next highest vote-getter.

Michael Dunn fell to fifth from his fourth-place finish on election night. He now has 12,195 votes or 12.8%, only 20 votes less than McKearn, who has 12,215 votes, or 12.8%. Mildred Lynch, a 13-year school board member, remained in sixth place with 11,659 votes or 12.2%.

In the contest for one of three open City Council seats, former Police Chief Dennis Gillette remained the front-runner with 15,188 votes, 15.2% of those cast, trailed by incumbent Andy Fox at 14,528, or 14.6%, and Dan Del Campo, at 13,718, or 13.8%.

Del Campo has apparently edged out Lazar, who finished 334 votes behind him Tuesday--a gap that closed to 267 after the absentee ballot count.

"I really did not expect it to change from last week, but you have to wait until the final counts are done," Lazar said Monday. "What can I tell you? I did not come in with enough votes to win. I don't know if there's anything I would have done differently in my campaign, but life goes on. As to the people who won, I wish them the best."

Dunn likewise conceded Monday.

"I want to congratulate our new board members and wish them the very best. I also want to thank Mildred Lynch and Elaine McKearn for their service to the community," he said.


Meanwhile, Stephens said he would finally celebrate after a long week of anticipation, during which he clung to a 168-vote lead over Dunn. Stephens' lead grew to 592 votes over McKearn and 612 votes over Dunn.

"It was very agonizing. It was totally on my mind 24 hours a day. It wasn't fun at all," he said.

Elections officials have yet to count 3,000 to 4,000 countywide provisional ballots. These are absentee votes cast by residents who have either moved within the county and not registered again or who did not appear on the rolls at their respective voting locations. Those votes will be counted over the next week, according to authorities.

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