SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. - In an apparent upset that came down to the wire, Norma Santiago edged out Dennis Crabb by 168 votes to win the El Dorado County District 5 Supervisor race.
"I am honored and ready to get to work right away to help the people in this district get what they want from their representative," she said with screaming in the background at her election party at Rockwater Tavern.
With 100 percent of the 24 precincts reporting, Santiago received 33.9 percent of the vote, with Crabb's 30.8 percent, followed by Lou Pierini at 28.1 percent and Stephen Reinhard with 7 percent of the votes.
Santiago received 1,796 votes; Crabb received 1,628 votes; Pierini, 1,486 votes; and Reinhard, 375 votes.
Crabb said he was disappointed but plans to congratulate Santiago today.
"We always knew it was going to be a close race but she got out the vote. Life goes on," he said, adding he would re-evaluate with his committee whether he will run in June.
Crabb was optimistic early in the night, while Santiago and Pierini were hanging on and awaiting.
"I don't know how she did it," Mary Ann Hankoff, one of three of Santiago's co-workers at Tahoe Women's Care, said at Santiago's party.
"The bottom line is, yes, we're excited. We were out there letting everyone know their vote counted. Our whole campaign was about outreach," Santiago said. "But are we on pins and needles? Yes."
Pierini was convinced there would be no clear winner Tuesday night.
"I'm expecting a late push because my mailer went out late," he said at his South Lake Tahoe home.
If anything, he was pleased he gave the other candidates a run for their money.
"He thought it was going to be a cakewalk," he said.
Reinhard appeared more pleased that Measure R, the doubling of the snow- removal fee for city voters, was having a difficult time passing on a two-thirds vote.
"I'm happy with the results of the measure," he said.
As far as his race, he seemed less enthusiastic.
"I'm leaving it to the three moneymakers. But I'm pleased I put my point of view out there. The voters have spoken," he said.
He did indicate having no desire to run again next year.
This election only affects the fulfilling of Dave Solaro's last year in office. He retired and moved to South Carolina.
The four-way race was hotly contested, with all candidates making the forums and putting up signs.