The three races for the College of the Canyons board of trustees have seen updated numbers roll in Wednesday, with the race in Area 4 tightening to a difference of 300 votes.
The Santa Clarita Community College District, which governs COC, has a five-member elected board whose elections are held every two years, with the trustee areas staggered.
The first board meeting in the December following the election is the swear-in date for the candidates selected in November. The terms are for four years. This year, three seats on the board were open in Trustee Areas 2, 3 and 4.
In Trustee Area 4, challenger Jerry Danielsen has brought the race to a difference of only a few hundred votes, Danielsen having 10,591 (49.22%) votes compared to incumbent Michelle Jenkins 10,928 (50.78%).
“Last night, when I went to bed I was 550 (votes) behind, and when I woke up I was only 250 (votes) behind, so it’s very close,” said Danielsen on Wednesday. “Even with the last update I slid by just a tiny bit.”
Danielsen added he believes his close proximity in votes to the three-decade incumbent is due to his message of “representing the entire community.”
“I went out there talking about representing the entire community, all the people who live in my district, of course and Santa Clarita, no matter their economic level or if they were people of color,” said Danielsen. “I went out there talking about students first and keeping a high-quality level of education, which I think resonated.”
Jenkins was not available to comment as of the publication of this article.
The race in Area 2, which is a wider gap in votes than the other two races for the COC board, is described by both candidates as one of mutual respect. On Wednesday morning, after Tony Watson had learned he had 8,085 (40.49%) votes to incumbent Edel Alonso’s 11,882 (59.51%), Watson said he called Alonso to express his congratulations and respect for her and her campaign.
“He called me this morning to congratulate me,” said Alonso.
“She’s a classy person and ran a good race,” said Watson. “I contacted her and it was very amicable with good will on both sides.”
Both Alonso and Watson said they had made the focus of their campaigns about helping students in the community, as well as helping the college. Both also thanked their supporters for the friends and family members who had helped with their campaign.
The final race, for Area No. 3, is between Sebastian Cazares and Fred Arnold, both running for the office for the first time. As of Wednesday, Cazares held the lead with 11,503 (51.9%) votes to Arnold’s 10,659 (48.10%).