Richmond Election 2022: Polls close, results in key races expected early Wednesday
on November 8, 2022
Soggy weather dissuaded many from voting in person on Tuesday but, apparently, the rain did not keep people from casting ballots.
“There have been an enormous number of ballots in the drop-off boxes,” Melissa Hickok, with the Contra Costa County elections office, said Tuesday night.
About 229,000 people cast votes in Contra Costa County, about 30% of registered voters.
In-person voting picked up during lulls in the rain, Hickok said. But drop-off boxes were filling up, even though Californians had weeks to fill them out.
“We had to do multiple pickups from least one of the drop-offs, with 30 minutes between pickups,” she said.
Half an hour after the polls closed at 8 p.m., the county posted the first results from Richmond, with Eduardo Martinez leading the field of four candidates. Hickok said more results would post around 9:30 p.m. and that the last ballots would not be counted until probably after midnight.
“We’re feeling really good,” Shiva Mishek, Martinez’s campaign manager, said earlier Tuesday.
“Eduardo himself has been canvassing all day,” she added. “And we’ve been working really hard on this for the past year. So, yeah, we’re really excited to watch the results come in tonight.”
The election will give Richmond its first new mayor in eight years and will determine the direction of the City Council.
Mayor Tom Butt is finishing his second term and wrapping up a long career as an elected official in the city, first as a City Council member for 20 years and then as mayor for the past eight. Four candidates are vying to take his place: Martinez, Mark Wassberg, Nat Bates and Shawn Dunning.
Bates and Martinez are giving up City Council seats to run for mayor, and council member Demnlus Johnson III is not seeking reelection, which means the council will get three new members. In the last municipal election, voters backed candidates with the Richmond Progressive Alliance, tipping the balance of power to that group, which included Martinez. Butt and Bates then found themselves on the losing end of many votes.
Will the RPA retain the majority of council seats and will it pick up the mayor’s seat as well, or will voters take the city in a different direction?
Voter Kent Kitchingman submitted his ballot this morning at the Washington Elementary voting site.
“I voted for Eduardo Martinez,” Kitchingman said. “I almost always vote for the person who I believe has the best interest of the community and city and not trying to promote a special issue or themselves. I’ve seen Eduardo over years and years and I believe he’s that kind of person.”
Kathy Riordan cast her mayoral vote at Washington Elementary for Shawn Dunning.
“I just feel like we just need someone who’s young and progressive,” Riordan said. “I don’t think I’ve ever been this involved or cared about politics right now. I just feel like the city of Richmond needs new blood to get things going.”
Riordan named Proposition 29, which concerns dialysis clinic requirements, and Proposition 31, the flavored tobacco products referendum, as issues that are important to her this election.
Stephen Bohannon showed up to the Washington Elementary voting site with his child, Alden.
“Get involved in local politics!” Bohannon said. “It’s rewarding and engaging and something to teach our future generation.”
Social worker Aleta Manuel, who voted at Veterans Hall, said one of the reasons she feels it’s important to vote is because of what’s happening politically in other states.
“In California, I want to be sure that we don’t take for granted the things that we don’t have to fight for, that we never get put in that position,” she said.
Voter Maya Alexander turned in her ballot at North Richmond Baptist Church.
“It’s important to exercise my right to vote,” she explained. “A lot of people that were incarcerated don’t have the right to vote, so it’s important for me to use my voice. Not just for California, but for my community.”
Carlos Olmedo cast his ballot at Nevin Community Center and called voting “second nature” for himself.
“I’ve always been active, and I’ve been doing a lot of research and doing what I can,” he said. “It’s important because it’s literally the only thing we can do. Voting is our only way to put our foot in the door.”
Edgar Aquinde, who submitted his ballot at Nevin Community Center, explained why he prefers to vote on Election Day rather than early.
“I learned from the past that if you vote early the mud slinging starts so I came to vote today,” he said. “We’re the boss, and they’re our public servants. It’s all politics. This is a free country. There’s a lot of deniers, and I’m disappointed since I’ve been both a Democrat and a Republican.”
Art Hunt, president of Richmond Veteran’s Hall, cast his vote today as well.
“I gave up my life in Vietnam…and to vote for the person I think is best for this country, so that’s why I voted,” he said.
In the evening, voters continued to gather at the polls. Voter Janet Johnson cast her ballot, voting yes on Measure P and for Eduardo Martinez for mayor.
“The last time the incumbent Tom Butt was running and he had a lot of momentum. This time there’s a new field of candidates, and Eduardo is the best candidate,” she said.
Carole Johnson, who said she has been a community activist in Richmond since 2006, also voted for Eduardo Martinez for mayor.
“So I voted for Eduardo Martinez for mayor because he is the only candidate that did not take any money from Chevron or any other big corporations,” she explained. “And I also support many progressive candidates.”
Stephanie Bresino also cast her mayoral vote for Eduardo Martinez at the Richmond Memorial Auditorium voting site.
“Because if you wanna see any type of change you have to be involved,” Bresino said. “And if you’re not involved you can’t really complain. You have to be active to provide and help be that change.”
Charles Kennedy, who voted at the Richmond Memorial Auditorium voting site, said he and his wife voted all Republican this election.
“We wanna do our part. You gotta put the people first, you’re supposed to protect the people,” Kennedy said. “And then the crime. And then you have defund the police and all this kinda stuff, but when you defund the police, what’s hurting more is cities like us and poor neighborhoods, where you take away people’s safety.”
Richmond Confidential will be talking to voters at the polls throughout the day and will post results as soon as they are available. Check the website for updates and follow us on Twitter @riconfidential.
Running for City Council are:
District 2: Andrew Butt and Cesar Zepeda
District 3: Courtland “Corky” Booze, Oscar Garcia and Doria Robinson
District 4: Soheila Bana and Jamin Pursell
If you’re not sure if you’re registered to vote or where your polling place is, you can find out at the Contra Costa County election site. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Reporting by Misha Schwarz, Beki San Martin, George Alfaro, Sasha Schell, Najim Rahim, Wendy Medina, and Jule Hermann.
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