Roseville Councilwoman Carol Garcia first took office as an appointee in 2007, but as the daughter of a longtime county official she had plenty of campaign experience.
"I grew up walking precincts for him," Garcia, 54, said of her father, the late Frank Chilton, who had an 18-year run as Placer County assessor.
"That was his livelihood," Garcia said. "If he didn't get elected, he didn't put food on the table, so we knew how important it was to get him elected."
Garcia won her campaign in 2008 to stay on the council. Her latest campaign resulted in a first-place finish in the field of seven candidates for three City Council seats. As the leading vote-getter, she will become the city's mayor in two years.
While a few thousand votes remained uncounted Wednesday, Garcia is all but certain to finish the race in the top spot. She had 20.3 percent of the vote, followed by current Mayor Pauline Roccucci with 19.7 percent and government-relations manager Bonnie Gore with 18.7 percent.
Garcia, a senior vice president at Community 1st Bank, said she got over the fear of asking people for money at an early age. She said some of the best training she had was knocking on doors as a Campfire Girl.
"People do slam their doors in your face as a kid," Garcia said of her early sales experience.
The ability to process the rejection and move on has served her well both as a political fundraiser and in her philanthropic endeavors.
At age 39, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She underwent a bilateral mastectomy and reconstructive surgery.
"During that whole treatment program I wanted to do something about it," she said.
The result is the Placer Breast Cancer Endowment. To date she's raised nearly $1 million toward a goal of $1.5 million.
The aim is to create an endowed research position through the University of California, Davis, to do clinical trials on breast cancer.
Garcia was the top fundraiser during this year's campaign, raising $68,000.
She served on several city commissions before she was appointed to the City Council in 2007 to complete F.C. "Rocky" Rockholm's term after Rockholm was elected to the county Board of Supervisors. After two successful campaigns, she will be termed out in 2016.
Under Roseville succession rules, Councilwoman Susan Rohan, who finished first in the 2010 election, will be sworn in as mayor Dec. 10. At that time Garcia will begin a two-year term as vice mayor before taking the mayor's chair.
Garcia said the mayor can have a great deal of influence over the city through the agenda-setting process and also serves as the public face of the city.