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Walker, Castillo elected to El Centro City Council

November 07, 2001|By RUDY YNIGUEZ, Staff Writer

Four-term El Centro City Councilman David Dhillon lost his seat Tuesday night in a five-way race for two open seats.

The winners were incumbent Cheryl Walker and challenger Ray Castillo, who finished one vote behind Walker in unofficial results. With all 19 city precincts reporting, Walker took 1,415 votes, or 30.54 percent. Castillo took 1,414, or 30.51 percent.

"I'm thrilled to be re-elected," Walker said. "I'm looking forward to another four years on the council. I wish every success to Ray Castillo, and congratulations.

Walker also congratulated the other candidates for caring enough about the community to seek election to public office.

Castillo offered thanks to God, his family and the community.

"I'm elated and happy as can be," he said. "I'm looking forward to this opportunity to serve."

Mayor Pro Tem Larry Grogan said he was pleased with the outcome.

Grogan credited the election results to the desire for change and said they were an affirmation of the job Walker has done during the last four years and as mayor.

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"The people have spoken," Grogan said.

Councilman Jack Dunnam said he was surprised Castillo finished within one vote of Walker.

"That speaks a lot for Ray," Dunnam said. "He truly wanted it and I know he got out there and worked hard."

Dunnam said the easy part is getting elected and Castillo's real work begins now.

Meanwhile, the election brings to an end 16 years on the council for Dhillon.

"The last 16 years have been the best 16 years of my life," he said after the election. "My family's relieved."

Dhillon said the City Council has done many good things for the community and he is proud to have been a part of that. He also said that he will not stop serving the community and will now return to civilian life, something he is unfamiliar with, having been elected right after graduating from San Diego State University.

Dhillon said he knew running for a fifth term would be risky but that he would not forgive himself if he did not seek re-election.

Barring any problems with certifying the election results, Castillo should be seated on the council at the Nov. 20 meeting. The council also will reorganize that day, with Grogan becoming mayor.

Dhillon finished third in the election with 928 votes, or 20.03 percent. Pamela Gaspar came in fourth with 574 votes, equal to 12.39 percent. The late Sam Mosher took 303 votes, or 6.54 percent.

Voter turnout was 18.54 percent, or 2,397 voters. Total registration in the city is 12,932.

>>Staff Writer Rudy Yniguez can be reached at 337-3440.

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