Election Night Results: African Americans Play Key Roles In City Council Races

SACRAMENTO - A number of African Americans fared well following yesterday’s primary election. With all of the precincts reporting, Mayor Kevin Johnson, City Councilwoman Bonnie Pannell and City Councilman Kevin McCarty received enough votes to be declared winners in their respective races. Meanwhile, first-time city council candidate Allen Wayne Warren made a strong showing, forcing a November runoff for the District 2 seat.

Mayor Johnson does not have to worry about a runoff in November. Johnson easily beat his challengers. With all 347 precincts reporting, Johnson leads with a commanding 58 percent of the votes (26,294). His closest competitor, Jonathan M. Rewers, pulled in 23 percent of the votes (10,800).

It appears that Ms. Pannell will get her wish to serve the residents of District 8 for one more term. Ms. Pannell holds a 53 percent to 47 percent advantage over challenger Betty Williams. Ms. Pannell currently has 1,951 votes while Williams has 1,719 votes. This race will be closely watched as election officials still have to count the absentee ballots.

“The only thing I was thinking of was to be positive and nothing but positive,” Ms. Pannell told The OBSERVER about 15 minutes before the polls closed.

“We’ve worked so hard for this community. Win or lose, nobody can tell me I didn’t do my job,” she added.

Ms. Pannell, who has served on the city council for 14 years, has said she wants to see two projects through their completion in District 8 before retiring from public service: Phase II of Regional Transit’s South Line to Cosumnes River College and the Delta Shores development project.

“I did my part to help build this community,” she said.

In the District 2 race, local developer Warren is headed for a runoff with former City Councilmember Rob Kerth. Kerth is leading Warren by only 31 votes with absentee ballots still out. Warren and Kerth will meet again in November to see who will replace outgoing representative Sandy Sheedy.

“This is only the first chapter,” Warren told a large and diverse crowd at Carol’s Books in North Sacramento.

“The people here in this community — and I’m talking about Blacks, Whites, Latinos, Asian, and others who helped us with this campaign — want a change. But we still have a lot more work to do,” he added.

Incumbent City Councilman Kevin McCarty, as expected, will serve another term for District 6. McCarty leads by a wide margin (4,463 votes) over challenger Mitch Netto (1,622 votes).

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By Antonio R. Harvey

OBSERVER STAFF WRITER