Local Elections

McKibbin wins San Juan Unified seat, joining incumbent Paulo in victory

Retired education administrator Michael McKibbin has won a seat on the San Juan Unified School District board, joining Trustee Greg Paulo as a victor in last week’s election, based on new Sacramento County returns.

Michael Miller, who flirted briefly with election victory in last week’s early vote count, conceded the race Wednesday for the second San Juan Unified spot on the Nov. 4 ballot.

“It’s done,” said Miller, a real estate broker, about his 839-vote deficit.

Last week, just two days after the election, McKibbin had gained ground on Miller, turning his initial third-place showing into a 185-vote lead over Miller. That lead grew more than fourfold in the updated tally released Wednesday.

“I’m not expecting to be able to bridge that gap,” Miller said. “I know that it’s not enough to come back.”

Miller recorded about 20 percent of the vote compared to McKibbin’s 21 percent.

The top-vote getter in the five-way race was incumbent Paulo, who has more than 24 percent of the vote and won his third four-year term.

Paulo called Miller the day after the election to congratulate him based on initial returns.

“We had a nice conversation,” Paulo recalled. “Then the guy goes through the process the next week, falls behind and eventually loses. That’s got to be terrible. I certainly don’t think it motivates anybody to run.”

McKibbin was upbeat but stopped short Wednesday of declaring victory, saying only that the trend favored his election. He gave high marks to other candidates in the race.

“This was a race where not one of the five people said a negative thing,” McKibbin said. “I did not expect to be in that kind of race.”

Miller and McKibbin said during the campaign that San Juan needs to encourage strong teachers to serve in low-performing schools. The suburban Sacramento County district of 49,000 students has faced increasing challenges with poverty, English learners and aging campuses.

Paulo, a two-term incumbent, said he ran for a third term to bring stability to the district rocked by an abrupt shift in superintendents.

Paula Marie Villescaz, a policy consultant for the Assembly Health Committee, was fourth with 17 percent of the vote according to the latest results. Communications business owner Michael Alcalay was fifth, also with 17 percent.

Call The Bee’s Loretta Kalb, (916) 321-1073. Follow her on Twitter @LorettaSacBee.