Lake Elsinore political insiders pegged the City Council race two months ago.
“Bob and Natasha will get it, not sure about that third seat though,” was the often-heard remark.
As armchair politics go, the Lake Elsinore rumor mill was dead on.
Tuesday’s early election returns showed Councilman Bob Magee and candidate Natasha Johnson leading the pack with comfortable margins, although counting continues.
That questionable third seat, however, has kept speculators guessing.
At press time, candidate Steve Manos has a slight lead over the remaining contenders.
Magee and Johnson were at The Diamond Tuesday to co-host a mega Election Night party that featured prominent politicians from across the Inland Empire, including termed-out Assemblyman Kevin Jeffries (R-Lake Elsinore), who is seeking a seat on the Riverside County Board of Supervisors.
Tired from nonstop campaigning but reeling from almost-in-the-bag wins, Bob Magee and Natasha Johnson shared their thoughts on the run up to Election Day and the likely four years ahead.
Johnson, who has never held elected public office, said she’s been humbled by the campaign experience.
“You make a lot of sacrifices,” she said. “It’s almost not of this world.”
Going door-to-door asking for a stranger’s vote can be an “emotional rollercoaster,” said Magee, who has served on the council for eight years. “Sometimes you’re sent into a tailspin.”
Being greeted at the door with unkind words comes with the territory of grassroots campaigning, but Magee and Johnson said the key is listening to constituents.
“People just want to be heard,” Magee explained.
Not talking too much has paid off for the two, and they’re optimistic about the possibility of serving during the next four years.
Magee ran on the platform of public safety, but staying “on the path” of improved parks and recreation, as well as improved transportation, are also top priorities, he said.
With that basic foundation laid, Johnson’s expertise in economic development (she currently works in the financial sector) can be put to work if she's elected, Magee added.
Additionally, the city is moving forward on hiring an economic development director and Johnson said she is “over the moon about it.”
The two contend the divided council that residents experienced earlier this year is no longer, and they believe regardless of who fills the three seats –- at press time numbers suggest it could be Johnson, Magee and Manos -- the council will get on with the business of the people.
“That cancer,” Magee said, “is gone.”