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Don Williams

Don Williams

With almost 30 percent of the votes counted, Calistoga City Council challenger Don Williams leads incumbent Gary Kraus and Jim Barnes who are both tied in the Calistoga city council race, according to preliminary election returns.

Williams has 482 votes (45 percent), Kraus and Barnes each has 289 votes (27 percent) in early results posted at 8:01 p.m. Tuesday.

Incumbent Mayor Chris Canning is running unopposed. He has 539 votes.

More ballots will be counted over the next week or so before the election results are certified.

While the Kraus and Barnes campaigns emphasized city government experience,  Williams' campaign called for new leadership, more restrained development, and more equitable water rates.

The election essentially polarized the city, with those who advocated halting commercial development to maintain Calistoga's small town character versus those who maintained slow but steady growth is the path to keeping the town fiscally healthy.

Voter turnout was brisk at the Calistoga Community Center on Tuesday.

Overall, in Napa and nationwide, voter turnout was way up, said Voting Center Official Karen Chilson. Voters had a lot of passion this year, and were placing their ballots in the box along with prayers. 

"I don't think people have had such strong opinions in a long time," she said.

Measure D, which would raise Calistoga’s hotel taxes by 1 percent to raise money for affordable housing, has 530 votes in favor (76 percent) and 166 votes against (24 percent). In order to pass, it needs a two-thirds supermajority.

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You can reach Cynthia Sweeney at csweeney@weeklycalistogan.com or 942-4035.

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The Weekly Calistogan Editor