Unable To Win Outright, Nickel & Mulvihill Headed To November Runoffs In SB 5th & 7th

Two of the four races in this year’s San Bernardino City Council Election will not be decided until November. Both of those races involve incumbents.
Jim Mulvihill and Henry Nickel were both originally installed on the city council as a consequence of special elections, the former in 2013 and the latter in 2014. They both then stood for reelection in 2015, prior to the city’s 2016 adoption of a new charter which moved the city’s elections from odd to even numbered years. Nickel won the 2015 election outright. Mulvihill was forced into a runoff held in February 2016, in which he prevailed.
This year, both Nickel and Mulvihill were faced with multiple competing candidates, in Nickel’s case five and in Mulvihill’s case four.
Upon the smoke clearing after Tuesday’s election, Nickel was the top vote-getter in the city’s Ward 5 and Mulvihill had captured second place in Ward 7.
In San Bernardino, a winner is declared when a candidate obtains a majority vote. Thus, a straight head-to-head contest between just two candidates in a primary election virtually guarantees that a winner will emerge in that contest, unless the vote ends in the highly unlikely occurrence of an exact tie. In contests with three or more candidates, the possibility exists that no one candidate will obtain a majority of the votes cast, necessitating a run-off between the two top finishers.
Ward 5 voters on Tuesday cast 1,364 votes for Nickel, meaning he captured 37.36 percent of the vote. Taking second was Ben Reynoso, with 871 votes for 23.86 percent. Mike Avellaneda polled 618 votes or 16.93 percent. Brian Davison banked 585 votes or 16.02 percent. Marlo Brooks registered 108 votes for 2.96 percent. Peter Torres finished with 105 votes for 2.88 percent.
Nickel will face off against Reynoso in November.
In Ward 7, Damon Alexander, with 1,046 votes, bested Mulvihill, who pocketed 924 votes. Alexander, however, failed to reach the needed 50 percent plus one vote threshold to achieve outright victory. His percentage was 32.49 to the 28.7 compiled by Mulvihill. Dave Mlynarski, who ran with Mayor John Valdivia’s endorsement and spent more on his electioneering effort than any of the other Ward 7 candidates, garnered 543 votes or 16.87 percent. Esmeralda Negrete achieved the endorsement of 379 of those in the Seventh Ward, good for 11.77 percent. John Abad claimed 327 votes or 10.16 percent.
Mulvihill, who has refined his campaign approach over four-and-half election cycles, including the 2007 and 2011 races where he lost to incumbent Wendy McCammack, has a core group of supporters who have provided him with the basis of his victories in 2013 and 2016. Alexander, however, is an energetic campaigner, one who is not shy about walking precincts, knocking on doors and introducing himself to his would-be constituents. He and Mulvihill will be focused on finding whatever edge they can to achieve election in the fall.

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