DANVILLE — Longtime incumbents Mayor Newell Arnerich and Councilman Mike Doyle were the top vote-getters in a crowded race for three Danville Town Council seats.
Doyle took 24.1 percent of the vote, Arnerich had 23.44 percent. Planning Commissioner Renee Morgan was in third place, with 14.72 percent of the vote, but that race may be too close to call.
On Tuesday, the Contra Costa County registrar of voters said up to 20 percent of county votes remain to be counted -- mailed-in ballots and mail-in ballots dropped off Tuesday at polling places.
In Tuesday's voting, Dreyer's Ice Cream executive Bob Nealis came in fourth of the seven candidates, with 11.21 percent of the vote. Nealis was the biggest spender of the campaign, spending nearly $17,000.
Distribution business owner Jim Jelincic, financial services representative Deanna Sullivan and State Farm insurance agent Lori Hock brought up the rear.
Arnerich has been on the council for 17 years and Doyle for 21, both serving as mayor multiple times. Renee Morgan, who was allied with Arnerich and Doyle during the campaign, served on the Danville Planning Commission for eight years.
One of the open seats on the board belonged to former Mayor Candace Andersen, who resigned in June to take a seat on the county Board of Supervisors. Her seat has remained vacant since her resignation.
The town is known for high incomes, a high quality of life and a bucolic setting under Mount Diablo. It is in good shape financially and budget issues were not a factor in the campaign.
The main issue was a proposal by SummerHill Homes to build about 70 homes on Magee Ranch. Nealis and Jelincic made opposition to the project central to their campaigns, and accused Arnerich, Doyle and Morgan of being in favor of it.
Arnerich, Doyle and Morgan have taken a wait-and-see approach on the project while an environmental impact report is being prepared.
Jelincic and Nealis have said that the project should go to a vote of the people under Measure S, an open space protection initiative passed by Danville voters in 2000. Arnerich, Doyle and Morgan have stated that the project does not trigger provisions of Measure S that would require a vote.
Morgan, who reviewed the SummerHill project while on the planning commission, was accused by Nealis, Jelincic and opponents of the project of misleading voters by listing her occupation on the ballot as an "architectural designer."
In California, it is a misdemeanor to list one's occupation as an architectural designer without an architect's license.
Morgan, who has a certificate as an architectural design drafter, said she was giving a job description and not trying to convey to voters that she was a licensed architect.
Contact Jason Sweeney at 925-847-2123. Follow him at Twitter.com/Jason_Sweeney.