Races for three Napa Valley College Board of Trustees seats saw Jeff Dodd, Beth Goff and Kyle Iverson jump out to early leads on election night, though the contests aren’t over because many votes remain to be counted.
Challenger Dodd had 1,102 votes and incumbent Amy Martenson had 1,049 votes for the Area 2 seat. He led 51.23 percent to 48.77 percent as of the 8:01 p.m. Tuesday count, with updates to be released by the Election Division in coming days.
Goff led incumbent Mary Ann Mancuso 1,087 votes to 687 votes for the Area 3 seat. That’s a 61.27 percent to 38.73 percent advantage.
And incumbent Iverson led Xulio Soriano 1,908 votes to 874 votes for the Area 4 seat. That’s a 68.58 percent to 31.42 percent advantage.
The Martenson/Dodd contest provided a contrast in political identities. Dodd’s endorsers include five Napa Valley College trustees, Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, and each county supervisor. Martenson’s endorsers include Napa Vision 2050, North Bay Progressive Alliance, Napa County Green Party and Napa County Taxpayers Association.
Dodd has local name recognition, being a local land use attorney and the son of state Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa. He attended Napa Valley College as a springboard to his later academic pursuits.
“I feel very excited with where we are right now, going up against an incumbent,” Dodd said as he watched results from NapaSport.
If elected, Dodd said, his priorities would be “making sure that students meet their goals and objectives, plain and simple...Taking really a positive view of where the college is going and people wanting to further that positivity, furthering the goals of the college and the students.”
Martenson watched the election returns from her mother’s house with about 40 supporters.
“I think it’s still too close to tell,” Martenson said. “Either way, we feel good about our campaign. We worked hard, we didn’t take any corporate money. We used our limited resources very well.”
Martenson said a priority for her has been making the Board of Trustees more transparent to the public and she said gains have been made. She’d like to do still more in this regard if reelected.
Papers filed with the Election Division show Dodd reported spending $18,408 on the race from Jan. 1 through Oct. 20 and Martenson reported spending $11,235.
The Area 3 race pits Board of Trustees chairwoman Mancuso, who has been on the board since 2013, against Goff, an American Canyon High School teacher.
The Area 4 race pits Iverson, seeking a second term, against community activist Soriano.
“It came down to experience and having been the more qualified candidate having four years of experience on the board,” Iverson said as he watched results at NapaSport.
Iverson called Napa Valley College a huge community asset. He emphasized the relationship between the college and the community during his campaign.
Despite having earned several strong endorsements, Iverson said, “Knocking on doors is the biggest difference.”
Napa Valley College was founded in 1942 with a class of 16 students, and today has more than 6,000 students. It has its main campus in the south city of Napa and its Upper Valley Campus in St. Helena. The Board of Trustees has seven elected community members, with students represented by a non-voting student trustee.