For the past two years, Tony Beall has been a visible mayor, a busy ambassador for the city of Rancho Santa Margarita and a deft handler of some tricky chamber politics.
Voters apparently liked what they saw of Beall, 51, who topped more than 13,000 votes as the Orange County Registrar of Voters completed its tally for City Council in Rancho Santa Margarita.
The official cumulative results showed there were 28,925 votes cast for the four-year term on City Council—each voter could choose up to two candidates—and Beall received 45 percent of those votes, 13,011 to be exact.
Carol Gamble accounted for 33.9 percent, while challenger Kenney Hrabik had 21.2.
Gamble has served on the council since early 2011 when she was appointed the replacement for Gary Thompson, who resigned to tend to his ailing father. A businesswoman who specializes in security, she had previously been elected to the inaugural council when RSM incorporated on Jan. 1, 2000 but resigned in 2004 to also tend to an ailing parent.
Beall, a real estate attorney elected to a third term on the council, easily surpassed the previous high vote total held by Jerry Holloway, who chose not to run after 10 years on the council. Holloway's previous record for accumulated votes, set in the 2008 election, was 11,124 votes.
A retired policement who is a dean at Santa Margarita Catholic High, Holloway won three elections, in 2002, 2004 and 2008.
When the new council convenes on Dec. 12, the one new face will belong to Brad McGirr. He is an attorney specializing in medicine, and he was the antidote for 41.3 percent of the 17,018 voters who could select one of three candidates.
They chose McGirr over retired businessman Larry McCook and civil engineer/water board director Glenn Acosta.
Beall, Gamble and McGirr ran together as a slate, their names appearing alongside each other on signs posted around the community.
"We promised we would continue to guide and lead Rancho Santa Margarita in the same direction we have in the past," Beall said. "That’s what I intend to do."
During the eight years that Beall has been on the council, the City's reserve fund has grown to more than $20 million—enough to fund the City for more than a year if it never took in another dollar.
No one campaigned more visibly than did Hrabik, owner of the Dove Canyon Courtyard whose campaign-themed vehicles have been visible for months. His main points of emphasis were that he would join with existing councilmembers Steve Baric and Jesse Petrilla and end councilmember benefits and install term limits.
So much for term limits, because in Hrabik voters had a clear alternative to the status quo.
The big numbers by Beall, Gamble and McGirr on election night, Nov. 6, didn't change much percentage-wise as the registrar continued to count an additional 6,424 votes cast for the two-year seat.
Beall expressed optimism then, having been in previous elections, that the percentages don't change much as the late votes get counted, especially when there is such a disparity in the totals for the candidates.
He was right.
Over the last 2 1/2 weeks, Beall accounted for 45.4 percent of the votes counted, Gamble for 33.3 and Hrabik 21.3. On election night, with 100 percent of the 31 precincts reporting, Beall had taken in 44.9 percent of the vote (10,095) with Gamble 34 percent and Hrabik 21.1.
The votes counted since election night did not change the outcome of those who will serve in any local election, but it did change the order in the Saddleback Valley Unified School District race in which Suzie Swartz passed Don Sedgwick in the popular vote. Swartz received 46,541 votes to Sedgwick's 46,480.
Here are the final numbers on the 2012 election for Rancho Santa Margarita:
Rancho Santa Margarita City Council, four-year term (vote for 2)
- Tony Beall: 13,011 votes, 45.0 percent
- Carol Gamble: 9,793 votes, 33.9 percent
- Kenney Hrabik: 6,121 votes, 21.2 percent
Rancho Santa Margarita City Council, two-year term (vote for 1)
- Brad McGirr: 7,036 votes, 41.3 percent
- Larry McCook: 5,391 votes, 31.7 percent
- Glenn Acosta: 4,591 votes, 27.0 percent
Capistrano Unified School District, Trustee Area 2 (vote for 1)
- Jim Reardon: 8,809 votes, 48.5 percent
- Carol McCormick: 4,466 votes, 24.6 percent
- Don Franklin Richardson: 3,628 votes, 20.0 percent
- Michele Taylor-Bible: 1,253 votes, 6.9 percent
Saddleback Valley Unified School District (vote for 3)
- Suzie Swartz: 46,541 votes, 29.5 percent
- Don Sedgwick: 46,480 votes, 29.4 percent
- Ginny Faiy Aitkens: 41,732 votes, 26.4 percent
- Earl Carraway: 23,114 votes, 14.6 percent
Member of the State Assembly, 73rd District (vote for 1)
- Diane Harkey: 130,030 votes, 64.3 percent
- James Corbett: 72,196 votes, 35.7 percent
Santa Margarita Water District, Director (vote for 3)
- Betty Olson: 30,736 votes, 27.5 percent
- Charley Wilson: 27,965 votes, 25.0 percent
- Chuck Gibson: 23,559 votes, 21.1 percent
- Fred Carr: 15,134 votes, 13.5 percent
- Stan Dziecielski: 14,425 votes, 12.9 percent
Municipal Water District of Orange, Director, Division 6 (vote for 1)
- Jeff Thomas: 55,403 votes, 62.1 percent
- Don Chadd: 33,821 votes, 37.9 percent
U.S. House of Representatives District 45 (vote for 1)
- John Campbell (R): 171,353 votes, 58.5 percent
- Sukhee Kang (D): 121,745 votes, 41.5 percent