Auburn City Council incumbents Bill Kirby and Keith Nesbitt have narrowly survived a challenge from restaurateur Gary Moffat, but some of the candidates had ammo left over from a testy election that went down to the wire.
On Election Day, Moffat clung to second place by a narrow margin. But in final results released this week by the Placer County Elections Office he lost out for a seat by 38 votes. Kirby and Nesbitt tied with 3,181 votes, or 33.29 percent. Moffat, a first-time candidate, finished with 3,143 votes (32.89 percent).
Interviewed Friday, Moffat said he was pleased with his efforts but shocked he went from second to third when the late mail-in ballots and other ballots that needed additional scrutiny were counted.
"If I had the money I'd ask for a recount," said Moffat, indicating he'll take some time before deciding whether to run again.
He said he came out of nowhere to give the incumbents "a run for their money."
Kirby also wanted to talk about money: union money.
Public employee unions tried to buy the election, he said.
"If they had a good candidate they might have won," said Kirby. "They outspent us by three to four times, and they still lost."
While campaign spending reports were not available Friday, Moffat acknowledged public employee unions contributed to his campaign.
Registered as a "decline to state" voter, Moffat called himself a business-owning moderate.
He called his former opponents "right-wing conservatives" who are "balancing the budget on the backs of working people."
Kirby made no bones about being a fiscal conservative and being against political involvement by public employee unions.
"I'm against prevailing wage" requirements for cities "and I'm against public employee unions being able to buy elections, and that's why they are against me," Kirby said.
He said election involvement by public employee unions is one reason California is in fiscal trouble.
In his postelection remarks Nesbitt played nice.
He said with the team intact the council will look to continue prudent capital investment while maintaining a conservative approach to spending.
"As boring as it sounds, it's just more of the same," Nesbitt said.