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By Lillian Boyd
After all precincts for the City of Dana Point reported their votes, the preliminary results for the 2018 Dana Point City Council Election indicate that Joseph Muller, Richard Viczorek and Jamey Federico are the apparent winners in Districts 1, 2 and 3, respectively.
In District 1, incumbent Mayor Pro Tem Muller took 47.3 percent of the vote, beating Joseph “Joe” Jaeger (37.1 percent) and Amy Foell (15.6%). In District 2, incumbent Mayor Richard “Rick” Viczorek claimed 48.1 percent of the vote, defeating his opponents Mark McGinn (29.8 percent) and Scott Schoeffel (22.1 percent). In District 3, political newcomer Jamey Federico won with 58.2 percent of the votes, with his opponent Charles Payne claiming 41.8 percent.
Muller, Viczorek and Federico never announced an official campaign to run as a slate, however, the three winners were associated as political allies due to campaign signage, similar PAC donations and common platforms. After learning the initial election results at the 8:05 p.m. update from the Orange County Registrar of Voters, Federico separated himself as an independent council-member-elect.
“There will be times when I do agree with the positions Muller and Viczorek take and there will be times when I don’t. I’m not part of any slate and my vote will be in the best interest of city residents.
Both Federico’s and Payne’s campaigns underwent controversy. Mailers and social media posts criticized Payne for his alleged associations with Headlands LLC developer Sanford Edward. Meanwhile, Federico’s campaign is accused of inappropriately coordinating with the Taxpayers Protection PAC, in a complaint being investigated by the Fair Political Practices Committee (FPPC). The campaign also faced criticism for the PAC money spent to support Federico and oppose Payne.
When asked if Federico had any regrets on how he ran his campaign, he said he wished he could have met with more voters. “I ran on the issues, I met with as many voters as I could. As politicized as the topic of districts has become, one benefit is it allows me to understand my district more intimately.”
Federico and his campaign team held their election party at Casanova Ristorante while Muller and State Assemblyman Bill Brough held a joint event at Brio Tuscany Grille. Brough—a Republican—beat his Democratic opponent Scott Rhinehart, taking 58.4 percent of the vote.
When looking back on this year’s city council race, Muller said now is the time to regroup and move forward as a united city.
“With all the negative campaigning that went on, it’s bad enough that it was happening on a national level. It should not be happening at the city level,” Muller said. “Both sides need to take a step back and think about what’s really important and what will help this community move forward. While we might not agree on everything, we need to work together.”
The election results will be officially certified no later than Dec. 7.