Incumbent Keith Blackburn scored an easy re-election victory on the Carlsbad City Council, while challenger Cori Schumacher continues to expand her lead over the other incumbent, Lorraine Wood.
A field of six contenders is vying for two open seats, currently held by Blackburn and Wood.
The latest vote count, released by the San Diego County Registrar of Voters shortly after 5 p.m. on Nov. 21, gives Blackburn 20,060 votes, or 23.93 percent, to 17,098 votes (20.4 percent) for Schumacher and 16,585 votes (19.78 percent) for Wood.
Schumacher has steadily expanded her lead over Wood since election night, when the final tally released by the Registrar put her 73 votes ahead of Wood. At the time, 620,000 mail and provisional ballots, countywide, remained to be counted.
As of Monday night, there are just 164,000 ballots left to be tallied.
In the latest vote count, former Carlsbad Unified School Board president Ann Tanner is running fourth with 16.82 percent (14,100 votes).Consultant Bill Fowler is fifth with 8.8 percent (7,385 votes) and zookeeper Brandon Rowley is last with 4.61 percent (3,861 votes).
A seventh candidate, Melanie Burkholder, dropped out of the race in October but in latest vote count is getting 5.67 percent of the vote (4,754).
Wood is a former city clerk who was elected to her first term on the council in November 2012 with only token opposition. Blackburn is a former Carlsbad police sergeant who was elected to the council in November 2008 and unsuccessfully ran for mayor against fellow Councilman Matt Hall in November 2010. He was re-elected to the Carlsbad City Council in November 2012.
Both Wood and Blackburn have come under fire, along with the mayor and the rest of the city council, for approving a controversial proposal to build a mall on the south shores of Agua Hedionda Lagoon in August 2015 without putting the matter up for a public vote.
Carlsbad residents were so angered by the August 2015 Council action that they mounted a successful referendum to force a vote — and in a Feb. 23 special election, what appeared on the ballot as Measure A was defeated, 52 percent to 48 percent.
Three of the five challengers —Schumacher, Tanner, and Fowler — were vocal critics of the mall proposal. Schumacher, in particular, was one of the leaders in the fight to first get the matter on the ballot, and then to defeat it.
Burkholder supported Measure A.
The results do show a fair degree of dissatisfaction with the status quo. Combined, the incumbents received just 43.71 percent of the vote.