For Alison Cormack, election night wasn't a particularly suspenseful affair.
When the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters released initial results just after 8 p.m. on Tuesday, she was well ahead of all four of her competitors, having picked more than 26 percent of all votes cast. Incumbent City Councilmen Tom DuBois and Eric Filseth were in second and third, with a single vote separating them, each garnering about 23 percent each. Incumbent Cory Wolbach lagged further behind with about 17 percent.
At the home of Janet Dafoe, where candidates from various local races gathered to watch the election results come in, DuBois was asked just after 8 p.m. whether the preliminary results indicated that his election was in the bag. He was cautious about his own chances but alluded to Cormack's strong early results.
"For one candidate, it is," he said.
The percentages barely changed throughout the night, with the final, semi-official count showing Cormack winning 28 percent of all the votes cast and DuBois and Filseth finishing second and third, each with 23 percent. Wolbach finished fourth with 18 percent, while newcomer Pat Boone garnered 7 percent.
A look at the Santa Clara County votes-by-precinct map underscores Cormack's electoral dominance. The Midtown resident, whose last brush with local politics came a decade ago when she led the successful library-bond campaign, won all but six Palo Alto precincts — often by significant margins — and stayed competitive even in those that favored the slower-city-growth candidates DuBois and Filseth.
Wolbach's support was more uneven. Though he had solid showings in several neighborhoods, matching DuBois and Filseth, his success was more than offset by very poor results in others, where he finished a distant fourth.
Enthusiasm for Cormack's candidacy was particularly strong in Midtown and in some of Palo Alto's eastern neighborhoods. In precincts within the Palo Verde, St. Clare Gardens and Triple El neighborhoods, she received more than 30 percent of the votes. She also enjoyed healthy leads in Old Palo Alto and in precincts throughout downtown, many of which she won by more than 50 votes. She was particularly triumphant in the downtown precinct that includes the eastern half of University South. Voters here gave her 332 votes, while DuBois and Filseth received 265 and 250, respectively, and Wolbach received 202.
Wolbach was far more competitive in another downtown precinct, which includes the western half of University South and the western blocks Downtown North, as well as a portion of Professorville. Even here though, Cormack cruised to victory with 325 votes, while Filseth received 254, Wolbach got 246 and DuBois got 234.
Wolbach also had decent numbers in Ventura and College Terrace (in both cases, he was a close third, just ahead of Filseth), though his campaign for a second term was doomed by poor showings in neighborhoods farther to the north and east. He struggled to win over voters in Duveneck/St. Francis, large swaths of Crescent Park and — most significantly — in Barron Park, where "residentialist" sentiments run particularly strong. He received a mere 13.72 percent of the vote in the precinct that includes most of the northeastern Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood (162 total votes), while Cormack, DuBois and Filseth received 28.45 percent (336 votes), 26.86 percent (317 votes) and 25.57 percent (302 votes), respectively.
In the precinct that includes the bulk of Crescent Park, Cormack and Filseth led the field with 331 and 288 votes, respectively. DuBois was in third with 234 votes. Wolbach was far behind, with 176.
In the Barron Park precinct just northwest of the intersection of El Camino Real and Charleston Road, voters came out strong for Filseth and DuBois, who received 269 and 266 votes, respectively. Cormack finished third here with 238 votes, while Wolbach lagged behind with 138, which amounted to 13.83 percent of all votes cast.
Ultimately, Wolbach took first place in one small precinct, in the Monroe Park neighborhood, where he edged out Cormack by a single vote, 44 to 43.
Filseth and DuBois, by contrast, received solid support throughout the city. Each placed second or third in most precincts and each won a handful of precincts. Filseth took first place in the precinct that includes the eastern portion of University South and Professorville, picking up 148 votes (Cormack received 139, while DuBois and Wolbach had 129 and 123, respectively).
DuBois, meanwhile, took first place in the precinct that includes the western portion of Crescent Park. Here, the three top vote-getters ended up in a virtual dead heat, with DuBois picking up 282 votes, Cormack getting 278 and Filseth receiving 277. This tony precinct, as much as Barron Park and Duveneck-St. Francis, helped seal Wolbach's fate. He received just 149 votes here, finishing a distant fourth.
DuBois and Filseth, whose campaigns overlapped and who were both endorsed by the citizens group Palo Altans for Sensible Growth, generally finished near one another in most precincts. One exception was Charleston-Meadows, where DuBois' performance outshined that of Filseth. Though Cormack won this precinct with 269 votes, DuBois finished strong in second with 245 votes. Filseth and Wolbach trailed further behind, with 196 and 176 votes, respectively.
Boone, meanwhile, received between 5.5 percent and 8 percent of the votes in most precincts, though he saw some relative success in Ventura. About 10 percent of the votes in each of the two precincts that comprise Ventura were cast for the former TV reporter. He also did relatively well in Charleston Meadows, picking up 8.63 percent of the votes.