WATSONVILLE – As polls closed on Tuesday, Vanessa Quiroz-Carter, a second-time candidate for District 2 city council, held a slight lead over Francisco “Frank” Barba.

By 8:45 p.m., only the mailed ballots had been counted, representing only 11.4% of voters in District 2. At the time, Quiroz-Carter had 164 votes and Barba had 107 votes.

Quiroz-Carter, 35, is an assistant professor at Hartnell College in Salinas and teaches public speaking. She told the Sentinel that increasing the affordable housing stock, revitalizing downtown Watsonville and opening up better employment opportunities were all linked, and highlighted the consolidation of the downtown specific plan of the city and the construction of “responsible” mixed-use developments. She said top priorities included refreshing parks and increasing pedestrian safety near Watsonville schools by improving crosswalks.

Barba, 42, works in healthcare for Jacob’s Heart and is a licensed real estate agent. Barba told The Sentinel his goal is to create a path for middle-class residents of Watsonville to homeownership. He also said he would push city council to provide more support for inner-city businesses by relaxing fees or regulations. Its goal on street safety would be to increase lighting and implement safety in school parks at night.

Residents can follow the election at www.votescount.us/.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.