Antioch Elections Almost Decided

A victorious Wade Harper points to election results, as Supervisor Federal Glover and Antioch School Board candidate Vincent Manuel look on.

Harper & Hack in First for Council, School Board; Second Places Still Too Close to Call

By Allen Payton, Publisher

As of Wednesday afternoon, November 10, the Contra Costa County Elections Office reported Wade Harper was still in first place in the race for Antioch City Council, while Gary Agopian had widened his lead over third-place finisher Arne Simonsen from 70 votes to 150.

In the Antioch School Board race, Gary Hack had a commanding lead for first place, while Joy Motts, also expanded her lead to 150 votes from just four votes on election night, over third-place finisher John “Jack” Yeager.

Over 5,000 additional votes were added to the total in the council race, since the total counted through last Tuesday, November 2. Harper had 8,617 votes, Agopian had 7,368 and Simonsen had 7,218 votes. Councilman Reggie Moore was in fourth place with 6,456 votes and Councilwoman Martha Parsons had 5,953.

Agopian didn’t expect that many more ballots are left to be counted for Antioch, which would affect the outcome of his race.

Gary Agopian confidently, but carefully speaks to supporters at his Election Night party, as host Dennis Jeglum watches.

For school board, Hack had 6,392 votes, Motts had 5,993 and Yeager had 5,845. Following them were incumbent Teri Lynn Shaw with 4,412 votes, Debra Vinson with 3,675 votes, Dave Pfeiffer with 3,245, Angel Luevano with 2,591 votes and Vincent Manuel with 2,509 votes.

Measure P, Antioch’s half-cent sales tax increase on the ballot, was defeated by just a little over 1,000 votes or 52.33% to 47.67% in spite of the No on P campaign, led by Terry Ramus and Tom McNell of EastPAC, the Antioch Chamber of Commerce’s political action committee, being outspent 22 to 1 by the Yes on P committee.

In the race for County Board of Education, Area 5, Antioch’s Cynthia Ruehlig trounced long-time incumbent Daniel Borsuk by 60% to 39%.

Antioch’s own State Assemblyman Tom Torlakson continued his political climb from Antioch teacher and cross-country coach to Councilman, Supervisor, Assemblyman and State Senator, to his new post as the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, beating Larry Aceves 54.7% to 45.3%, as of Wednesday, November 10 update, according to the California Secretary of State’s office. (See more at

EastPac's Terry Ramus as well as Gary Gilbert check results on election night.

There were approximately 107,000 ballots left to count the Wednesday after Election Day, Tuesday, November 2, which included 96,000 absentee ballots turned in at the polls and 11,000 provisional ballots, which are from voters voting in polling places other than their own.

As of Monday morning, November 8, a total of 87,000 ballots were left to be counted in the county.

The County Elections office has 28 days after the election to certify the results, which will be November 30. They expect to provide updates each Wednesday and Friday until the vote count is completed.  (See more at

The Antioch City Council, last night (Tuesday, November 9) discussed whether to accept the County Clerk’s certification of election during a special meeting scheduled to discuss the city budget on November 30 and give both new council members the oath of office that night, or hold the ceremonies at a later meeting in December.

Cynthia Ruehlig receives a congratulatory hug while jubilant husband and Antioch School Board Trustee Walter Ruehlig looks on.

Both Harper and Agopian were in attendance at Tuesday’s council meeting in preparation for their new roles, and will be meeting with city staff to get up to speed on the budget over the next few weeks.

the attachments to this post:

Terry Ramus & Gary Gilbert check results

Cynthia Ruehlig congrats from Dennis Jeglum

Gary Agopian Election Night Party
Gary Agopian at Election night party

Wade Harper Election Night
Wade Election Night

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