Elk Grove Mayor Steve Ly easily won re-election to a second term. Defeating fellow city council member Darren Suen and local businesswoman Tracie Stafford. Also winning easily was Pat Hume in District 2 and Stephanie Nguyen in District 4.
The mayoral race was expected to be a close one between Ly and Suen. Suen had the backing of his fellow council members, local community and business leaders, but in the end Ly won easily, with 46% of the vote. Suen received 31% and Stafford received 22%, up from the 12% she received in 2016. Suen will remain on the council with 2 years left on his current term. 2020 will be interesting as Suen will have to decide whether to run for Mayor again or run for re-election to the city council in District 1.
Hume and Nguyen easily won their elections over their respective challengers. For Hume this was his 4th win in a city council election. He first won back in 2006. He will be the longest tenured city council member in Elk Grove’s short history as a city. Nguyen was appointed to the council in 2017 after Steve Ly won the race for mayor in 2016. Hume defeated Andres Ramos and Nguyen defeated Orlando Fuentes. Hume and Nguyen each had over 60% of the vote.
In other local races, Rod Brewer and Jaclyn Moreno easily won seats on the Cosumnes CSD Board. They defeated two other candidates Koi Rivers and Jerry Braxmeyer.
For SMUD Board Rosanna Herber defeated Angela Spease.
In the District 7 Congressional race, Ami Bera defeated Andrew Grant 52% to 47%
According to the Secretary of State website, only 23% of the voters in Elk Grove voted. Sacramento County had a 24% turnout for the vote. That would put it among the lowest in the state. Several counties had over a 60% voter turnout.
Analysis of the local election
Voter turnout was surprisingly low, but shows the voter apathy in Elk Grove with only 23% voting. It was another convincing win for Steve Ly. In 2016 he garnered 45% of the vote in a more crowded field. This year 46%. It was a surprisingly easy victory for Ly, and a very disappointing showing for Suen. Suen had all the endorsements and backing, but that did not translate into votes. While Stafford received more votes this time, it was still a poor showing. She had been essentially been running for Mayor since the 2016 election. Her lack of knowledge on the issues affecting Elk Grove were very apparent during the town hall forums. With Hume and Nguyen also winning it maintains the status quo on the city council. Expect to see more of the same with them joining with Detrick and Suen to keep Ly in check.
The election also shows that endorsements in the local campaign were not important to voters. In a city of over 170,000 people and 90,000 voters, residents of Elk Grove are not involved in the running of the city. They show up at council meetings when something affects them, but other than that very few actually follow what is happening. Voters also didn’t buy into the negative ads against Ly. Most are okay with what is happening in the city. They complain about traffic and crime, but are not unhappy with the direction of the city. Traffic will not improve anywhere in California. Crime is actually down in the city and more officers will be added. The casino will opening in the next two years and likely with it the long dormant mall. There isn’t a defining issue that will motivate voters to get out and vote for vote for a change. With a majority of the residents of the city having lived here less than 15 years, most are okay with the growth and addition of more amenities to the city. People are more excited at the opening of new businesses than they are upset with the negatives that growth brings.
2020 will be interesting. Ly will win as long as he keeps running for Mayor. If he runs again, I would not expect a strong challenger. Does he plan on moving up to higher office? If he decides to run again for Mayor, look for Suen to run to keep his council seat. Detrick is up for re-election in 2020 as well. If Ly decides to run for higher office, then that would open it up to several potential candidates including Suen, Kevin Spease or Detrick and likely Stafford again.
Also what happens to former mayor Gary Davis? Davis was a staunch supporter of Ly’s until the final week when he flipped and endorsed Suen, Hume and Nguyen. Rumors were floating around that if Suen won, Davis would apply for his vacated council seat and then use that to run for higher office in 2020. Davis is now a man without a party and by the time 2020 rolls around he will have been out of office 4 years. His last minute flip will not help his future chances.