Latest vote count shows little change. New City Council majority likely, supermajority possible

New councilmembers were never in doubt in districts 2 and 3. But a situation exists that could see three, and possibly four, of the five seats on the Palm Springs City Council held by newcomers.
Scott Nevins records a video for his supporters Tuesday evening in Palm Springs during his campaign party at Palmina By Puglia on North Palm Canyon Drive. Nevins is currently in the lead for the District 1 Palm Springs City Council seat.

Residents frustrated with the direction the city is headed should see a new majority on the Palm Springs City Council if results from Tuesday’s vote count hold up. The chances of one candidate making history still appear unlikely.

With new totals released Thursday morning, Mayor Pro Tem Grace Garner continues to trail challenger Scott Nevins in the race for District 1, while Jeffrey Bernstein in District 2 and Ron deHarte in District 3 remain well ahead of their challengers, Renee Brown and Joy Meredith. It is not known how many of the ballots left to county — both vote-by-mail and provisional — were cast in city races.

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As of just after 8 a.m. Thursday, Nevins had 53% of the vote to Garner’s 47% (941 votes vs 828); Bernstein had 56% of the vote compared to Brown’s 45% (1,370 votes vs. 1,108); and deHarte had 66% of the vote compared to Meredith’s 34% (1,330 votes vs. 677).

New councilmembers were never in doubt in districts 2 and 3, where incumbent councilmembers Dennis Woods and Geoff Kors were not on the ballot. But should Nevins hold on to officially defeat Garner in District 1, three of the five councilmembers seated in December would be new.

Adding to the equation, however, is a likely victory in the California State Assembly 47th District race by current Councilmember Christy Holstege, a former mayor. The Democrat currently leads Republican challenger Greg Wallis by roughly 9,000 votes. If she wins, it would created another opening on the City Council. Combined with a Nevins victory, that would mean four of five members of the current council would be soon be gone.

Palm Springs Mayor Pro Tem Grace Garner speaks to supporters during a gathering at Superbloom Studios off West San Rafael Drive.

Garner was seeking to become the first Latina mayor in city history — a position she would have been elevated to in December with a win. As early returns showed her trailing, the Palm Springs native said was disappointed but remained hopeful.

“There’s been a lot of change in Palm Springs and the work I’ve done to prevent people from being displaced may not have happened soon enough,” she said in response to questions about why voters may not have supported her.

Speaking in front of a room full of jubilant supporters at a North Palm Canyon Italian restaurant, Nevins said his strong performance signified voters were ready for change.

“People are excited for fresh voices and new leadership to take the city to the next level,” he said. “I’m looking forward to helping make the city the best it can be.”

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