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Daily Pilot

Monahan 'just hoping to hang on'

Stephens' vote total is now 123 behind third place in the Costa Mesa City Council race, with almost 1,500 ballots still to be counted.

By Bradley Zint

8:34 PM PST, November 13, 2012

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Councilman Gary Monahan continues to narrowly lead attorney John Stephens for the third spot in the Costa Mesa City Council race.

As of 6 p.m. Tuesday, Monahan, who is running for his fifth nonconsecutive term, had 13,643 votes to Stephens' 13,520 — a difference of 123, according to the latest Orange County Registrar of Voters data.

The registrar posts updated election results on its website, http://www.ocvote.com, by 5 p.m. each weekday.

Monahan said in an email Monday that he's thankful for all who voted for him and that he's "just holding my breath and hoping to hang on."

Stephens, a first-time candidate, said Monday that his campaign has been gaining votes and ground every day.

"It's very interesting," he said. "It's the 5 o'clock flop. Everybody at 5 o'clock is looking to see what's going on at the Registrar of Voters … nobody knows what the endgame is going to be."

Former Mayor Sandra Genis leads the field of eight candidates with 15,621 votes, followed by Councilman Steve Mensinger with 13,901.

Nearly 1,500 estimated provisional and vote-by-mail ballots in the Costa Mesa district remained uncounted, according to the latest ballot data. That number does not include paper ballots from polling places cast on election day.

All 71 precincts have reported.

The top three vote-getters will assume three open seats on the five-member council.

Should Monahan maintain his seat, his vote and Mensinger's will maintain the council majority led by Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer. Monahan, Mensinger and Planning Commission Chairman Colin McCarthy — who was in fifth place with 13,152 votes — campaigned together as the "3Ms" slate.

Businessman Harold Weitzberg, who campaigned with Genis and Stephens as the "Top 3" slate, had 11,486 votes.

The two candidates who did not actively campaign or raise funds, Al Melone and James Rader, had 3,560 and 2,388 votes, respectively.

bradley.zint@latimes.com

Twitter: @bradleyzint