As Hispanics cheer their role in the presidential election Tuesday, they may have also made the difference in San Juan Capistrano.
Nationwide, the media is flush with stories of Hispanics’ 71 percent support of President Obama in enough numbers to make the difference, especially in swings states such as Nevada and even Florida, whose Cuban population historically pushed the Hispanic vote Republican.
Although the San Juan Capistrano City Council election is nonpartisan – and all five candidates are Republicans – precincts with larger Hispanic populations went heavily for incumbent Sam Allevato, who barely edged out Kim McCarthy for the second of two seats.
While neither are Latino, McCarthy has a history of publicly criticizing illegal immigrants.
, but Election Day votes at the polls tipped in Allevato's favor.
In four precincts that include heavily Latino neighborhoods, such as the Villas, Village San Juan and the community around Marco Forster Middle School (including the west side of Alipaz Street), voters broke 2-to-1 for Allevato. In actual figures, Allevato’s votes totaled 639 to McCarthy’s 317, for a difference of 322 votes.
Allevato was the top vote-getter in those precincts, even though it was Roy Byrnes who placed first overall by a nearly 800-vote margin.
Allevato closed out election night in second, leading with 273 votes, and since then, his lead has decreased slightly to 260 votes.
“I have always treated the Hispanic community with respect and gratitude for the rich heritage that they bring to our city,” said Allevato, a retired police lieutenant who grew up in East Los Angeles. “I believe the Hispanic voters of this community recognize this fact from my voting record and my affiliation with the organizations they love, i.e Mariachi Capistrano, Camino Health Care, the Mission San Juan Capistrano, the Boys & Girls Club, etc.”
Allevato also suspects that some of McCarthy’s past comments may have caught up with her.
McCarthy did not respond to a reporter's inquiries.
McCarthy continues “to classify our city as a ‘sanctuary city,’ a label which has been refuted repeatedly by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Border Patrol and our own sheriff, Sandra Hutchens. This hate-inspired mantra has caused fear and division within our town needlessly, and the Hispanic voters have taken notice,” Allevato told Patch.
Allevato added he and his supporters walked the whole city, including the Villas and the Village.