The race for the District 7 seat on the Watsonville City Council has been the tightest contest in all of Santa Cruz County this general election.
A mere 10 votes separate current District 7 representative Ari Parker and former Watsonville mayor Nancy Bilicich, 378-368, respectively, in early voting tallies provided by the County Elections Department Wednesday morning.
At one point, Parker had only a one-vote lead on Tuesday night.
There are still thousands of votes left to be counted. By the Elections Department’s estimation, there were 59,600 vote-by-mail ballots, 1,175 same-day registration ballots and 90 provisional ballots submitted this election. As of Wednesday, only 37,878 votes had been accounted for.
Parker, who is serving as mayor this year, said Tuesday night that the winner would likely not be determined until all the votes are counted—the election results are certified at the end of the month.
“It ain’t over until it’s over,” she said.
Parker was first elected to the city council in 2018, the same year Bilicich termed out of office and ran unsuccessfully for 4th District Santa Cruz County Supervisor.
Parker is a teacher at Bradley Elementary School.
Bilicich serves as the director of Watsonville/Aptos/Santa Cruz Adult Education.
The District 7 seat was the lone Watsonville City Council seat of four up for grabs that saw more than one candidate step forward. Casey Clark (District 5), Maria Orozco (District 3) and Kristal Salcido (District 4) all ran unopposed and will assume office next month.
According to the Elections Department, the next update to the voting tally will come Friday, Nov. 11, at 4pm.