Citrus Heights Sentinel Logo

Perez holds strong lead over Sarama in SJUSD special election

Sentinel staff report–
The latest vote count released by county officials Thursday afternoon shows candidate Manuel Perez in the lead to fill the vacancy on the San Juan Unified School District’s governing board left by the late Steve Miller, who passed away earlier this year while serving in office.

As of about 3 p.m. on Nov. 9, county election data shows Perez with 54.1% of the vote, with Moe Sarama drawing 45.9% of the vote. A total of 5,235 votes have been counted so far, with Perez receiving 2,832 votes and Sarama receiving 2,403 votes.

Neither candidate has publicly claimed victory or defeat in the race, although Perez appeared optimistic in a Facebook post Thursday afternoon, stating: “The most recent numbers have me in the lead!!” Sarama noted in a Facebook comment on Wednesday that late mail-in ballots had not been received by the elections office.

As of Thursday afternoon, a “what is left to process” link on the county’s website reported an estimated total of less than 70 vote-by-mail ballots and conditional ballots remain to be counted. However, that total does not include mailed ballots yet have been received by the county elections officials, which are required to be received and counted at least seven days after the election.

Sarama had the backing of the San Juan Teachers Association and had been endorsed by Citrus Heights Councilwoman Porsche Middleton as well as the Democratic Party of Sacramento County, while candidate Manuel Perez had been endorsed by Mayor Tim Schaefer and the Sacramento County Republican Party.

The Area 7 school board seat largely covers Citrus Heights, except for several portions of the city south of Greenback Lane and east of Mariposa Avenue. Boundaries for the area caused some confusion for voters who thought they could vote in the election, but learned at the Vote Center or elsewhere that they were not eligible to cast a vote in the election due to them residing outside Area 7’s boundaries.

Prior elections for the San Juan Unified School District were held at-large, but a recent change expanded the board from five members to seven members and also created by-trustee-area elections.

Like local news? Sign up for The Sentinel’s free email edition and get two emails a week with all local news and no spam, ever. (Click here)