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Heidi Harmon ahead in race for San Luis Obispo mayor

Menaka Wilhelm/KCBX
Heidi Harmon speaks to her supporters as the first round of election results came in Tuesday night.

As of the latest unofficial election results published early Wednesday morning, Heidi Harmon is on her way to winning another two-year term as mayor of San Luis Obispo.

This year, Harmon has garnered more votes over her opponents than the 47 votes she won by in the 2016 election. Challenger Keith Gurnee has 38 percent of the vote, with under three percent of voters backing Donald Hedrick.

Tuesday night, Harmon and her supporters gathered to celebrate at the Kreuzberg coffees shop in downtown San Luis Obispo—but even before the votes were counted, Harmon considered the race a win.

“Look at all the people here,” Harmon said. “They showed up to vote, and showed up for each other. We’ve already won, whatever the results are of this campaign. This is exactly what it looks like to win.”

Energy was high at Harmon’s victory party. A DJ played, and someone had baked chocolate cupcakes topped with Harmon’s signature red rose.

Beyond the race’s impact on San Luis Obispo, some supporters saw Harmon’s campaign as part of a bigger change, one they hoped would take hold in the rest of the country as well.

Supporter Sarah McGraw arrived to celebrate with her husband, who’s a new voter, she said. The election was exciting for them both, McGraw said, because they see Harmon as an exciting kind of candidate.

“She’s part of this wave of people all over the county who are just getting out, and becoming more active,” McGraw said.

When initial results came in, supporters cheered and whooped. Harmon, too, was elated.

“We crushed it with love, that’s the only thing that matters,” Harmon said.

Harmon’s supporters repeatedly brought up the campaign’s focus on inclusion. They credited the strong initial vote count to that community focus.

Harmon campaigned to protect San Luis Obispo’s open space, improve housing affordability with higher density development, and to transition San Luis Obispo away from fossil fuels.

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