Yes, the general election was over more than a month ago. And although Carl DeMaio, Brian Bilbray, and several other candidates had to wait a few days to know their fate, 23-year old Michelle Fawcett had to wait weeks — for every last ballot to be counted and certified.
Fawcett ran for Escondido city treasurer against seven-term incumbent Kenneth Hugins. On election night, she checked the county registrar’s website every ten minutes. The candidate appeared to be matching her opponent vote for vote. Days later, the vote was still too close to call.
As the thousands of provisional ballots were being counted over the weeks, she got within five votes to beating Hugins, who has often run unopposed in his position of 28 years. It wasn’t until the evening of December 4, when the election tallies were finally certified, that Fawcett knew she was officially 27 votes short.
Fawcett said it was a last-minute decision to enter the political storm in a not-so-interesting race. Listing herself on the ballot as a “Accountant/Entrepreneur/Businesswoman,” she didn’t even file a candidate statement for the sample ballot. No debates were held, and the candidate spent less than $1000 on her campaign.
“I just thought it was time for a fresh face,” she said.
Fawcett chose the race because she knew she wanted to serve the public in the field of accounting. Of her success as a political novice, Fawcett says she knows a lot of people in town, having grown up in Escondido. She also used old-fashioned knock-on-doors campaigning and social media.
“I’ve been asked about a possible run for city council but have no interest in that,” she said. “I like reading financial statements.”