Brown concedes to Marx in close San Luis Obispo mayoral race

In one of the county's closest contests in Tuesday's election, former City Councilman Paul Brown has conceded to Councilwoman Jan Marx in their race for mayor of San Luis Obispo.

Brown confirmed Saturday night that he telephoned Marx the night before.

“I called Jan and told her that at this point, it looks like she has won, and wished her well,” Brown wrote in an e-mail to The Tribune.

“The difference between Jan and I is currently at 298 votes,” he noted. “It is highly unlikely there will be a 18 percent swing in my favor in the remaining ballots to be counted.”

There are 1,738 ballots remaining to be counted in the race for the two-year mayoral position, according to the county Clerk-Recorder’s Office.

Marx’s lead had widened as votes were counted in the days following Tuesday’s election.

After Marx is sworn in as mayor, she and the three other remaining council members would have to appoint someone, or call for a special election, to fill the remainder of her council term.

Most local governments tend to decide the former, citing the costs of an election and the associated delay.

Brown recommends that council candidate Dan Carpenter be appointed to Marx's seat “out of respect to the voters,” noting that the race between him and returning Councilwoman Kathy Smith was so close, with just 289 votes between them.

In another close race, the contest for Morro Bay mayor had tightened even further on Friday after San Luis Obispo County elections officials counted more vote-by-mail ballots that had not yet been tallied.

Former Mayor Bill Yates remained in the lead over City Councilwoman Betty Winholtz, but by just 57 votes. Going into Friday, he had led by 65 votes. Earlier in the week he led by 89 votes.

The countywide vote tally grew by more than 11,000 on Friday, according to figures from the county Clerk-Recorder’s Office. Officials there are still working their way through counting vote-by-mail ballots that got turned in on Tuesday.

Provisional and damaged ballots also must be checked and counted. Provisional ballots are those cast by voters whose eligibility must be confirmed.

In other close races, San Luis Coastal Unified School District board candidate Jim Quensenberry’s lead over incumbent Kathryn Eisendrath Rogers shrank to 93. After Thursday’s count, he had led by 286 votes for the third seat on the school board.

Field Gibson’s lead over Jeanne Dugger for the third seat on the Paso Robles Public Schools board grew to 180 from the earlier 140.

And, in San Luis Obispo County’s closest contest, Ester Garcia’s one-vote lead over Michael Wimmer for the third seat on the Shandon Joint Unified School District board grew to three votes. As of Friday, Garcia has 139 votes, to Wimmer’s 136.

County elections staff expects the counting to resume Monday.

Staff Writer AnnMarie Cornejo contributed to this report.