The Atascadero City Council will likely be dominated by women after three female candidates claimed victory during the Tuesday election.
Council candidates Heather Newsom and Susan Funk, both newcomers, were the top two vote-getters on election night and will probably emerge as official winners once the results are certified at the end of the month.
The two were competing against Planning Commissioner Mark Dariz for two spots left open on the council after Brian Sturtevant decided not to run again and Heather Moreno opted to make a bid for mayor.
Newsom took the top spot with 35 percent of the vote, and Funk was close behind with 34.3 percent, according to results released at 11:10 a.m. on Wednesday with 100 percent of precincts reporting.
Dariz came in third with 30.3 percent of the vote.
Moreno, who ran unopposed, became Atascadero’s second elected mayor on Tuesday night. She succeeds Mayor Tom O’Malley, who’s served three terms since 2012, when residents began voting for the office.
Prior to mayoral elections, City Council members appointed a new member every year to serve as leader.
If the unofficial results hold, four of the council’s five members will be women, including current Councilwoman Roberta Fonzi. Councilman Charles Bourbeau will be the only male representative.
On Tuesday night, the Atascadero candidates interviewed by The Tribune cited increasing economic diversity and encouraging business development as their major priorities.
Moreno said she wants to continue building on the city’s ongoing downtown revitalization and make Atascadero a place to work, as well as live.
“I’m really focused on creating a really strong, diverse economy,” she said.
Funk emphasized the need to include residents and business owners in policy decisions that will affect their neighborhoods.
“Let’s find ways to have these dialogues when people can really shape what’s going on,” Funk said.