Veteran politician Fred Keeley has grabbed a commanding lead on political newcomer Joy Schendledecker in the race for Santa Cruz’s mayorship; initial election results released Tuesday night showed.
The former Santa Cruz County supervisor and treasurer had amassed roughly 77% of the 7,448 votes that were accounted for as of 11:23pm.
Keeley, whose more than 50 years of experience in politics include a six-year stint as a state legislator, says that although there are still several hundred votes to count, he believes he will hold on to the big lead and assume office next month.
“I want to thank the voters of Santa Cruz, and I want to congratulate Joy Schendledecker on a principled campaign that she ran,” he says. “I look forward to working with the community on the problems of homelessness, affordable housing, drought-proofing our water system and reinvigorating our local economy.”
The new at-large mayoral office is a product of Santa Cruz’s shift to district elections and voters’ approval of Measure E earlier this year.
Santa Cruz will soon be governed by six city council members, each elected by their own slice of the city, and the mayor, a position previously determined on a rotating basis among the seven city council members.
This story will be updated.