The votes are in for Gilroy’s City Council election, and voters showed that they wanted no major overhaul to the DNA of the dais – incumbents Cat Tucker and Perry Woodward secured their spot for another four years, while newcomer Terri Aulman won the slot of retiring Councilman Bob Dillon.
“I am pleased that I have another four years, and I’m looking forward to working with the new members of the Council. It will be an honor to serve with Don (Gage), and I’m excited that Terri is joining us. I’m encouraged, and I can’t wait to get started,” Woodward said.
Two candidates didn’t get enough votes for a seat: Paul Kloecker, retired U.S. Navy engineer, garnered 17.79 percent (3,792), and Rebeca Armendariz came in last with a 16.54 percent (3,525) vote.
Woodward led the pack with 22.63 percent of the vote (4,824 votes), and knew his lead was strong enough to call his victory among family and friends at The Milias on Monterey Street just after 8 p.m. on Tuesday night.
Supporter Jeff Cathers, 50, said it’s Woodward’s honesty that made him the best candidate for a second term.
“He’s not afraid to call something foul,” Cathers said.
Cather’s friend, 49-year-old Lori Balog agreed.
“He’s always the one calling people out on their … stuff,” she said, smiling.
Of the three, Aulman was probably the most surprised about her strong 21.95 percent win – collecting just about 150 votes fewer than Woodward with 4,680 votes – which propelled her to second place.
Aulman moved to Gilroy four years ago and dipped her feet into local politics by volunteering on the planning commission in 2010, where she sits as the current chair. During her campaign for Council, the retired IBM manager won endorsements from local business owners as well as GilPAC, the political arm of the Chamber of Commerce.
“To be honest, because I am fairly new and unknown, I never personally envisioned getting that many votes,” Aulman said. “I was just hoping I could make it – we have five candidates and most everyone was well known so that is a surprise to me.”
Eric Howard, owner of Bruce’s Tires, celebrated Aulman’s victory with her at Station 55 on Fifth Street Tuesday night.
“Terri has the common sense leadership that Gilroy needs,” Howard said. “Her thing is, ‘why have all the red tape?’ for development.”
Another supporter, Alan Ladd, said that Aulman is the perfect solution to Council’s recent “lots of talk, no action” mode.
“She has new, fresh, innovative ideas that are long overdue for Council,” Ladd said.
Closely behind Aulman was Tucker, with a 21.09 percent vote (4,496 votes).
Tucker celebrated at a friend’s home Tuesday night, surrounded by friends and supporters, who watched the local election results on a power point screen in one room, and national results on a television in another room.
The mood was merry in that home in west Gilroy, where guests raffled for bottles of wine with Tucker’s campaign logo, and a small furry dog wore a Cat Tucker onesie.
“I hope I can continue what I started with another four years,” Tucker said, dressed in a blue Cat Tucker T-shirt with a garlic bulb centered on an American flag.
Another term also means a fresh start for Tucker, and this term she said she will be honing in on improving Gilroy’s downtown.
“Downtown is our weakest link, and that has got to be my focus this term,” she said.
Don Gage, Gilroy’s next mayor, said he’s pleased with the team he’s been given to work with this term.
Kloecker, who volunteers on the City’s parks and recreation commission, said despite his loss, he plans to stay involved in local government.
“I would have preferred to be one of the winners but that’s the way it is. I’m sure every one that was in the winner circle will do fine,” Kloecker said.
Calls to Armendariz were not returned. On Monday, the Dispatch reported Armendariz’ self-surrendered on a warrant arrest for driving with a suspended license and using her cell phone while driving at the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office Nov. 2 in San Jose.
Countywide, remaining to be counted by election officials are about 180,000 vote-by-mail ballots and about 35,000 provisional ballots, according to the registrar’s office.