Winners in the races for San Ramon mayor and two City Council seats were clear as of Election Night, with the two incumbents in the race coming out with strong leads and a new face set to fill the District 4 seat in the weeks ahead.
Incumbent Mayor Dave Hudson was at 50.26% of the vote for reelection, followed by outgoing Councilmember Sabina Zafar with 27.06% and challenger Dinesh Govindarao at 22.63% according to the latest ballot count from the county elections office Thursday afternoon.
District 2 Councilmember Mark Armstrong also secured a comfortable victory in his first campaign for election to the seat, having been appointed following Hudson's departure from the position when he was elected mayor in 2020. Armstrong was at 59.74% of the vote as of the latest count, with challenger Sara Lashanlo trailing behind at 40.24%.
In District 4, Dublin San Ramon Services District Director Marisol Rubio pulled ahead of her opponent, parks commissioner Heidi Kenniston-Lee, with 62.91% of the latest ballot count compared with Kenniston-Lee's 37.02%.
Hudson said that he was already looking ahead to plans for his second term as mayor at the start of the year, and nearly 30 years as an elected official in San Ramon. At the top of the list, he said, would be the process of hiring a new city manager following the retirement of Joe Gorton after six years in the position and 16 years working for the city.
"We've been putting everything on hold until after the election," Hudson said "Come December, we're going to have to move quick."
Other priorities, he said, would include continuing work to fulfill the city's Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) numbers, seeking to address the gap in retail and grocery services left by the redevelopment of the Marketplace shopping center for a planned housing project, and completion of the Iron Horse Regional Trail overpass.
Despite having had to add the work of campaigning during election season to an already full plate, Hudson said that it had been a pleasure to spend more time interacting with voters and residents, and that feedback had been overwhelmingly positive.
"It's just been probably the most positive response from people I don't know that I represent, and I just can't thank them enough," Hudson said. "They made this extremely easy at a time when it should have been extremely difficult."
Hudson said that a longtime campaign consultant had died shortly before his bid for a second term as mayor, and that he wished he was around to help celebrate his recent win.
With his win secured alongside incumbent District 2 Councilmember Armstrong's second term, Hudson said that another priority would be getting the council's only first-time member -- Rubio -- oriented with the council's duties and familiar with her colleagues.
Rubio said that she'd gotten the best sleep of her life following her safe lead against opponent Kenniston-Lee in early results on Election Night, and was eager to get to work in her new position after the holidays.
"What I really am excited about in this new position is that San Ramon is having to make some tough decisions right now as it pertains to our growing population, housing issues, our economy, and making those transitions we need to make because times are changing and we need to stay in front of the issues," Rubio said.
For her part, Kenniston-Lee said in a Facebook post that despite not winning the seat, she would continue to serve the city through her role on the Parks and Community Services Commission.
"Though I didn't win, my community service journey continues in so many wonderful ways, including my leadership on the San Ramon Parks and Community Services Commission," Kenniston-Lee said. "Best wishes to Marisol as she joins the council. We all love this city and will need to work together to do what's best for our residents. You can count on me to be a part of that process!"
Rubio said that she was looking forward to leveraging her passion and expertise for environmental issues and infrastructure in her new role on the council, following her pending departure from DSRSD.
But while excited about her win in the council race, Rubio said it would be bittersweet to leave her position on the DSRSD Board of Directors.
"It's always very hard caring for the environment, looking out for something like water," Rubio said. "I tell a lot of people water's like gold in California, and it's very near and dear to me on many levels."
"I'm obviously going to miss my fellow board members, and the staff," she continued. "I've just had a wonderful, wonderful professional relationship with them and I'm deeply grateful to the residents of Dublin and San Ramon to be able to serve them."
The start of Rubio's term in the District 4 seat will also mark the end of current Councilmember Zafar's time in the seat, with her term up at the end of the year. Despite not being successful against Hudson in her bid for mayor, she said that she would continue to seek ways to serve the city.
"Election season is always an amazing time to meet neighbors and make new friends and this journey in the last few months has been nothing but incredible," Zafar said. "I ran with the intention to step up and lead San Ramon forward into the future and I will continue to serve this city in other capacities. For me this is a marathon and not a sprint."
Hudson also said that Zafar would continue to be a public presence in San Ramon, despite not knowing what her next steps after her council term might be.
"We have talked before and she's not going away," Hudson said. "Sabina will be here. She wants to represent."
The winners are set to be sworn in for their new terms in December. Hudson is set to stay in office through 2024 after this election, with Rubio and Armstrong set for four-year terms ending in 2026.