DAVID WASHBURN Voice of OC | 5 comments
Beating back what had been dubbed the “Santa Ana Spring,” Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido cruised to his 10th term, trouncing Councilman David Benavides by a nearly 2-1 margin in Tuesday’s election.
Pulido won despite an uprising among fellow council members and a challenger in Benavides, who with support from developers nearly matched the mayor in fundraising.
Pulido finished with 47.4 percent of the vote and Benavides 26.4 percent. George Collins finished third with 12.8 percent. The other candidates — Lupe Moreno, Roy Alvarado and Miguel Briseno — all ended up with 5 percent or less of the vote.
In the end, Pulido’s name recognition and continued support from key players such as Democratic Party Chairman Frank Barbaro and outgoing Assemblyman Jose Solorio proved too much for Benavides to overcome.
“I’m ready to move forward and take on the issues that are before us,” Pulido said Tuesday night at the local Democratic Party’s gathering at Original Mike’s in Santa Ana.
“I’m just going to lead,” Pulido said. “I would rather make peace and work together.”
Contrary to what he’s done in some of his past elections, Pulido showed up to all of the major candidate forums, made an effort to walk precincts in the waning days of the campaign and even held a news conference last week — the first in recent memory — to announce a proposal of an ordinance that would discourage visits from members of the Vietnamese Communist regime.
Barbaro, who stuck with his endorsement of Pulido even though the Democratic party endorsed Benavides, said that Pulido will emerge from this election more accessible to the community than he has been in recent years.
“I think you will see more of Miguel out in the hustings, more ribbon cuttings, more baptisms,” Barbaro said. “Up until now he has been busy fixing the city.”
For his part, Pulido said he does not plan to change his overall approach. “I’m not going to spend energy raising my profile,” he said. “It will be issues, issues, issues.”
It is clear that Benavides was hurt by his late entrance into the race; he didn’t announce his candidacy until the week before the filing deadline in August. But even taking that into account, Tuesday’s results show that the insurrection against Pulido that has consumed Santa Ana’s political class did not resonate with the average voter.