Five votes. That’s the number of votes that finally put Denise Menchaca over the top to win a seat on the San Gabriel City Council in 2016. But those five votes came at the end of a long and torturous road.
By Cheryl Cabot
After eight years on the San Gabriel School Board, Menchaca decided to run for city council in 2015. After the final tally, she and an incumbent were exactly tied. The city called for a recount, and Menchaca lost by two votes.
Still she persisted and ran again. This time around, the election count got even more convoluted. There were three open seats with seven candidates running, two of whom were incumbents, so Denise was vying for third place and a seat on the city council. On election day, she was in fourth place, but not all the outstanding votes had been counted. By the end of the week, Menchaca was in third place, leading the fourth-place candidate by eleven votes. Three days later, after another count, she had lost four votes and was only ahead by seven votes. In the final count, Menchaca was up by eight votes. Her challenger decided he wanted a recount, and, as Denise said, “He had every right” to one.
However, now there is a cost differential.
“After the 2015 election, the San Gabriel City Council decided to save money and allow Los Angeles County to take over the election,” Menchaca said. “A recount now costs $5,000 a day, paid for by the person requesting the recount.” In this case, her opponent. The recount took two days at a cost of $10,000.
A day before the swearing in of new city council members, Menchaca won the election by five votes. “This is once in a lifetime. Well, actually twice for me!” she said.
Think your vote doesn’t count? Don’t tell that to San Gabriel City Councilwoman Denise Menchaca.
> Watch San Gabriel Councilmember Denise Menchaca recounting the trials and tribulations of her election:
Read More: - Who Should Not Win on Nov. 6? - I Am a White Male, and I Am Not Afraid - A Big Yes on 10!
We hope you appreciated this article. Before you move on, please consider supporting the Colorado Boulevard’s journalism.
Billionaires, hedge fund owners and local imposters have a powerful hold on the information that reaches the public. Colorado Boulevard stands to serve the public interest – not profit motives.
While fairness guides everything we do, we know there is a right and a wrong position in the fight against racism and climate crisis while supporting reproductive rights and social justice. We provide a fresh perspective on local politics – one so often missing from so-called ‘local’ journalism.
You can access Colorado Boulevard’s paywall-free journalism because of our unique reader-supported model. People like you, informed readers, keep us independent, beholden to no outside influence, and accessible to everyone.
Please consider supporting Colorado Boulevard today. Thank you. (Click to Support)