Incumbent Catherine Vonnegut and Esmeralda Ortiz were solidly ahead in the race for the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District's board as early results came in, with a tight race for the third seat between Thida Cornes and Eric Mark.
With roughly 73% of the countywide vote tallied by 5:04 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 13, Vonnegut led with 25.4%, followed by Ortiz with 24.5%. Roughly 700 votes separated Cornes and Mark, who had 17.1% and 16%, respectively. Carrol Ann Titus-Zambre and Jacquie Tanner trailed with 9.4% and 7.8%, respectively.
Three seats are coming open on the five-member board. The winners will be elected to four-year terms.
Reached by phone just after 9:30 p.m. on election night, Vonnegut said she was confident about her position based on the results
"I'm absolutely thrilled. I was hoping for this kind of result," Vonnegut said. "I'm glad I got my message out and I'm glad we can continue some of the initiatives that we were working on. And it will be exciting to see what the new folks have to add."
If elected to a second term, Vonnegut said that she would focus on issues including mental health and helping students who experienced learning loss during the pandemic catch back up.
Ortiz was not immediately reachable for comment. As Vice President of High School and Postsecondary Programs at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula, Ortiz has experience working with high school and college students. Her campaign focused on expanding support for students interested in pursuing an array of post-high school options, such as community college, career technical education, gap years, military service and a four-year degree.
Cornes acknowledged the close race and said that she will wait to see more results come in.
"It was an honor to run with fine candidates and it was a privilege to get to speak to so many voters," Cornes said.
A longtime Mountain View resident, Cornes prioritized mental health and wellness in her campaign, as well as ensuring academic achievement for students regardless of their background. She unsuccessfully ran for Mountain View City Council in 2016.
Mark said that he wasn't surprised by the initial election night results and that his inexperience as a political candidate may have hurt him.
"I felt it would be a very tough race for third and so my analysis unfortunately is holding true," Mark said. "But there's still hope. ... I'm only down a few hundred votes. It could certainly turn."
A longtime community volunteer, Mark's campaign priorities included supporting the ethnic studies course that the district is rolling out, as well as proactively addressing the mental health crisis that young people are experiencing.
Tanner and Titus-Zambre were not immediately available for comment.
Results are continuing to be tabulated. Check back on mv-voice.com for updated results.