Conner and Cole pull away in council election |

Conner and Cole pull away in council election

Adam Jensen

South Lake Tahoe City Council candidates Hal Cole and JoAnn Conner maintained their leads in the race for two council seats in the most up-to-date election results from El Dorado County released early Wednesday morning.

Cole will remain on the council for his fifth four-year term since 1994, while businesswoman JoAnn Conner will unseat incumbent Bruce Grego, according to the latest tallies from Tuesday’s election.

Although Conner led all five candidates when initial results were released about 8 p.m. Tuesday, Cole jumped ahead of Conner in total votes when the updated results put out about 1:15 a.m. Wednesday.

Conner led the next-closest candidate, Austin Sass, by almost 400 votes, according to the results. It appears unlikely the outcome of Tuesday’s City Council election will change as the remaining votes are recorded.

Throughout El Dorado County, there were 13,000 vote-by-mail ballots dropped off at polling places on election day, and 2,000 provisional ballots still to count Thursday afternoon, said Registrar of Voters Bill Schultz.

How many of those ballots came from South Lake Tahoe is unknown. It would be difficult for the results of the council race to change at this point, but not impossible, according to the registrar. He said he hoped to have updated results posted to the county’s elections department website Friday. The county has until early December to certify the election. Schultz said he hoped to have the count completed well before then.

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Meanwhile, Conner said she is preparing to take her seat on the council next month. She said she has meetings scheduled with City Manager Nancy Kerry and South Shore agency representatives to become more educated on issues facing the city.

“I’m expecting to spend a lot of time learning,” Conner said.

She said she was surprised to hear she was winning when initial results were released Tuesday night, but said her first campaign for a publicly elected position was a positive one regardless of how it ended.

“It was very positive no matter which way it had gone because of the support I got from the community,” Conner said.

“I was pleasantly surprised at the support I did get,” Conner added, noting the relatively little amount of funding she had available for her campaign compared to other candidates.

She said she plans to focus on jobs and promoting recreation, which will also spur job growth. Conner also said she plans to continue holding regular “Coffee with Conner” meetings and encouraged people to contact her with concerns.

“I still want to remain approachable. That wasn’t just a campaign tactic.”

Cole did not return a request for comment Thursday.

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