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Two Citrus Heights City Council races remain too close to call

Screenshots from Sacramento County’s Elections website shows latest vote totals for Citrus Heights district’s 2 and 5, as of Nov. 29, 2022.

Sentinel staff report–
As of the latest vote count update released on Nov. 29, just eight votes now separate the top two candidates for Citrus Heights City Council District 2, and just 23 votes separate candidates for District 5.

The District 2 race between MariJane Lopez-Taff and Michael Nishimura is now the closest race, with Lopez-Taff pulling ahead of Nishimura for the first time. On election night, Nishimura led with 35% of the vote, compared to Lopez-Taff at 31%, but she has consistently closed in that gap and now has 1,927 votes, compared with Nishimura’s 1,919 votes.

The District 5 race has been much closer all along, with Mayor Porsche Middleton leading Taste of Tuscany restaurant owner Natalee Price by a handful of votes since Election Day. At one point the two had tied with the exact same number of votes, but as more votes have been counted, Middleton has held a slight lead: currently at 1,949 votes to Price’s 1,926 votes.

The next vote count update is slated for Dec. 2, by 4 p.m., with an estimated amount of less than 12,000 ballots remaining to be counted across the county. How many of those include votes in Citrus Heights races is unknown.

The only Citrus Heights council seat without a razor-thin margin this year was the District 4 seat, where former councilwoman Jayna Karpinski-Costa won 49% of the vote, with her closest contender at 31%.

In a statement following election night, Karpinski-Costa told The Sentinel she was “very optimistic about the future of Citrus Heights” and “ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work.”

Candidates in the close races for district’s 2 and 5 were given opportunity for comment on Thursday regarding the latest vote totals. Price and Lopez-Taff replied by press time.

“I went into this race eager to serve my community and am hoping when the dust settles my name is on top, but after 3 weeks of counting, the truth is, I just wish I knew whether I am experiencing a patient victory or a very slow death,” said Price in an email. “I am really proud of this race, it’s not over yet and I will continue to wait for more results.”

Lopez-Taff also said she is “eagerly awaiting” final vote count results, but said she will “continue to serve my neighbors and fellow business owners in Citrus Heights,” regardless of the outcome.

According to Sacramento County’s elections website, a total of 472,951 ballots have been counted so far in the county. A total of 864,814 registered voters were eligible to vote in the Nov. 8, 2022 election, with total turnout estimated to reach about 57%.

The county’s final vote count will be released by 4 p.m. on Dec. 8.

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