The race for three seats up for grabs on the Capitola City Council is highly competitive, with incumbent Yvette Lopez Brooks in the lead.
Brooks has served on the council since 2018 and is the only incumbent in the race—she has 2,490 (25.95%) of the votes and is ahead by the most significant margin. She is followed by her four opponents, who are in some cases separated by a little more than a handful of votes: Alexander Pedersen has 1,799 (18.75%) votes, followed closely by Joe Clarke with 1,791 (18.67%) votes. Gerry Jensen trails right behind them with 1,767 (18.42%) votes, and in last place is Enrique Dolmo, Jr. with 1,718 (17.91%).
The Santa Cruz County Elections Department said it would provide another round of updates on Friday, Nov. 18, at 4pm.
Brooks credits the number of candidates running for the three seats and the competitive results to an engaged voter base. The 2021 Census results show Capitola’s population to be 9,846: 4,469 votes have been counted for the council race, just under half of the total population.
Brooks says holding the lead in votes in such a competitive race is a testament to her tenure on the city council. She says it’s also helpful being the only incumbent running.
“Incumbents tend to have more name recognition,” says Brooks. “I’ve worked really hard the last four years, including being the mayor during a worldwide pandemic, and I think that just shows true with the results. The community knows who I am.”
Should she be re-elected, Brooks plans to focus on finding new funding streams for the city by working with state officials to find grants and exploring local tax measures, like the city’s sales tax measure, which will be up for renewal in 2026.