Longtime schools trustee Linda Fowler appears to have survived a challenge Tuesday from two opponents for her Twin Rivers Unified board seat.
Fowler, a retired investigative auditor for the state Department of Justice, led the Area 7 race with 41 percent of the vote, compared to 31 percent for her nearest challenger, Francisco R. Garcia. Another candidate, Daniel Savala, had 28 percent.
Garcia, 51, a stock clerk for Sacramento County, said he believes having two challengers instead of one increased the difficulty of overcoming Fowler’s name recognition.
“A lot of people just go with the incumbent,” Garcia said, “and she has been around for 40 some years. So she she does have a fan base.”
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Savala, 35, a field representative for Sacramento City Councilman Allen Warren, said he was disappointed.
“Everywhere I went, the feedback was positive,” Savala said. “I had no intentions of losing this race, based on feedback. To be in third place right now is a punch in the gut.”
Fowler, 80, remains the subject of a state Fair Political Practices Commission investigation into whether she violated conflict-of-interest rules by accepting thousands of dollars in consulting fees from Highlands Community Charter School, which she helped establish. The investigation is still pending, according to the FPPC.
Fowler said Wednesday she had no comment for a story on the election.
Area 7 includes neighborhoods of Arden Fair, Woodlake and North Sacramento.
While Fowler likely won another term, fellow incumbent Walter Garcia Kawamoto could lose his seat to community volunteer Ramona Landeros in Area 3. Kawamoto, an adjunct professor at American River College, had 46 percent compared with 53 percent for Landeros.
“It’s really hard to say,” Kawamoto, 48, said about his showing. “Everything that I know of indicated that I should have had the edge. I took nothing for granted. I went out to earn the votes one by one, and I was received very well. Very few people said they were going to be voting against me.”
Area 3 includes Del Paso Heights, McClellan Park and North Highlands.
Sacramento County Voter Registrar Jill LaVine said election officials still need to count ballots that were dropped off election night, provisional ballots and those in the mail that could not be counted before Election Day, she said.
In Area 5, which includes North Natomas and Robla, Basim Elkarra had 53 percent compared with 47 percent for community volunteer Michelle Deleon. It was Elkarra’s second attempt to win the seat after losing a special election last year. Elkarra, 36, is the executive director of the Sacramento office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
“I’m waiting until every ballot is counted,” Elkarra said.
He said he called Deleon, 46, on election night “to congratulate her on a positive race.”