Abram Rincon drops his ballot in the box at the Watsonville Civic Plaza Building poll station on Election Day. Tarmo Hannula /The Pajaronian file

WATSONVILLE—The race for the District 7 seat on the Watsonville City Council has been the tightest contest in all of Santa Cruz County this general election.

Current District 7 representative Ari Parker and former Watsonville mayor Nancy Bilicich are separated by a mere 10 votes, 378-368, respectively, in early voting tallies provided by the County Elections Department Wednesday morning.

At one point, Parker had only a one-vote lead on Tuesday night.

There are still thousands of votes left to be counted. By the county’s estimation, there were 59,600 vote-by-mail ballots, 1,175 same-day registration ballots and 90 provisional ballots submitted this election. As of Wednesday, only 37,878 votes had been accounted for.

Parker, who is serving as mayor this year, said Tuesday night that the winner will likely not be determined until all the votes are counted and the election results are certified at the end of the month.

“It ain’t over until it’s over,” she said.

Parker was first elected to the city council in 2018, the same year Bilicich termed out of office and ran unsuccessfully for 4th District Santa Cruz County Supervisor.

Parker is a teacher at Bradley Elementary School.

Bilicich serves as the director of Watsonville/Aptos/Santa Cruz Adult Education.

The District 7 seat was the lone Watsonville City Council seat of four up for grabs that saw more than one candidate step forward. Casey Clark (District 5), Maria Orozco (District 3) and Kristal Salcido (District 4) all ran unopposed and will assume office next month.

The next update to the voting tally will come Friday at 4pm, according to the Elections Department.

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Tony Nuñez is a longtime member of the Watsonville community who served as Sports Editor of The Pajaronian for five years and three years as Managing Editor. He is a Watsonville High, Cabrillo College and San Jose State University alumnus.


  1. I am glad I wrote in my name under their names. . we needed a third choice. I am done with campaigns where sign stealing is considered “normal”. campaign signs are an American tradition. to mark them up, or draw faces on them robs us of respect for those who declare themselves for office. and, Felipe does not understand that enabling sign vandals does NOT encourage respect for the democratic process. pity he did not take American government from me.


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