Another squeaker unfolded Tuesday in the race for Seaside mayor, while mayoral races in Pacific Grove and Marina appeared to be more lopsided.
Update: The final election night update from the Monterey County Elections Office at 4:24 a.m. Wednesday showed Rubio maintaining a 217 vote lead, with 100 percent of votes counted, although the elections office warned via Facebook that they still had "tens of thousands" of votes remaining to be counted. The next update is not expected until Friday, officials said.
Former Seaside Mayor Ralph Rubio opened up a slim lead over Mayor Felix Bachofner while another potential newcomer to the Seaside City Council vaulted to the top of a four-candidate council field.
"I feel a little better, but there's not enough spread," Rubio said.
In Pacific Grove, City Councilman Bill Kampe raced out to wide margin over Mayor Carmelita Garcia in their contest, while political newcomer Casey Lucius jumped to the top of a five-candidate field for three council seats.
"I'm fairly confident this margin will hold up," Kampe said.
The mayors of Monterey and Del Rey Oaks ran unopposed, but both cities had two open council seats and non-incumbents were in the running in early returns.
Monterey's election produced a contrast between Mayor Chuck Della Sala running unopposed while five other candidates set their sights on two City Council seats.
Incumbent Councilwoman Libby Downey sought to be one of the two top vote-getters along with city commissioner Bill McCrone, college instructor Alan Haffa, former Monterey police officer Ed Smith and neighborhood activist Mike Dawson.
Councilman Jeff Haferman didn't run for another term.
Downey had the most votes in the elections office final report of the night and Haffa was running in second place, a few hundred votes ahead of Smith. Dawson and McCrone trailed well behind.
Smith was endorsed by Della Sala and Councilman Frank Sollecito, while Councilwoman Nancy Selfridge endorsed Downey and Dawson.
The marquee match in Seaside was between Bachofner and Rubio, who lost to Bachofner by 21 votes in 2010.
Two other council incumbents, Steve Bloomer and Ian Oglesby, sought to hold on to their seats in a four-way race with challengers Dave Pacheco, a former city recreation supervisor, and landscape contractor Jason Campbell.
Pacheco and Oglesby were leading according to the elections office's most recent report Wednesday morning, but Bloomer was close and Campbell was 56 votes back of Bloomer.
Bachofner contended his council leadership put the city back on a path of fiscal responsibility while Rubio said Seaside has lost too many development opportunities in the past two years.
Campbell, who expressed concern about the proposed Monterey Downs equestrian project on Fort Ord, would bring a different voice to the council. Pacheco said he wanted to make the city more business friendly.
The Marina election came about two weeks after a critical report on the city's political leadership by the Monterey County civil grand jury.
Mayor Bruce Delgado, who was implicitly criticized by the grand jury for overstepping his proper role, was challenged by financial adviser Steve Emerson.
But Delgado, who has spent eight years on the City Council in all, expressed confidence in his chances for re-election. His wide lead on Emerson continued Wednesday, according to an early morning report.
"People in this town know me," Delgado said. "They see me ride my bike. They see me drive my little electric car.
Council incumbents Jim Ford and Frank O'Connell sought new terms along with three other candidates — city commissioner Darlena Ridler, peace officer Larry Starkey and attorney Gail Morton.
Delgado allies O'Connell and Morton took leads in early returns, but Ford and Ridler trailed just a few points behind as of Wednesday morning.
An ad hoc committee set up by the City Council to deal with the city's equestrian center came in for criticism from the grand jury. O'Connell and Morton are on the panel.
After three years as mayor, Garcia drew a challenge from a few seats away on the council dais — as Kampe tried to block her from a new term. He jumped to a commanding lead in early returns.
Kampe said his strong early returns reflected city voters wanting the City Council to "engage in a more constructive and civil dialogue and focus on practical solutions."
In a crowded field for three other seats on the seven-member council, incumbents Dan Miller and Robert Huitt were in the running in early returns but trailed Lucius, a Naval Postgraduate School professor.
Retired retailer Mary Norton and filmmaker Robert Pacelli had a lot of ground to make up on the other three candidates to eke out a victory.
Two critical issues for Pacific Grove's future — a long-term Peninsula water supply and unfunded public safety employee pension costs — figured in the races.
In Del Rey Oaks, the election boiled down to a three-way contest for two City Council seats.
Five-year Mayor Jerry Edelen didn't draw an opponent and was guaranteed of another two-year term.
Incumbent Kristin Clark was the top vote-getter in early returns.
Former council member and current Planning Commissioner Mike Ventimiglia opened up a wide lead over fellow Planning Commissioner Scott Larson in early returns.
Councilman Mike Zucarro didn't choose to seek re-election.
Larry Parsons can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 646-4379.