Early Chico City Council election results suggest incumbent defeats, conservative gains


Kimberly Morales

Unofficial election results show a trend of conservative wins for Chico City Council seats. Photo taken on Nov. 3 by Kimberly Morales

Unofficial results from the 2020 election in Butte County show steady Democratic support nationally but strong conservative gains in the contentious city council races.

All results remain unofficial until certified. 

“Our goal is to have everything certified by Thanksgiving and that’s still very tight,” said Butte County Clerk-Recorder Candace Grubbs.  

Former Vice President Joe Biden won 3,000 more votes in Butte County than President Donald J. Trump. 

U.S. Rep. Doug LaMalfa easily won reelection despite contender Audrey Denney winning nearly 3,000 more votes in Butte County. 

Current Butte County election results are leading a trend that Chico City Council will soon welcome Sean Morgan for the District 1 seat, Kami Denlay for the District 3 seat, Andrew Coolidge for District 5 and Deepika Tandon for District 7. Candidates Denlay, Coolidge and Tandon appear to have taken seats away from incumbents Ann Schwab and Randall Stone. 

Incumbent Morgan currently leads his opponent Curtis Pahlka for the District 1 seat. Should Morgan win his bid for re-election, Morgan will continue to sit on the council after first serving  in 2012. Morgan also served as Chico’s mayor from 2016-2018. 

Newcomer, Denlay is reported to have defeated long-time incumbent Schwab and the progressive opponent Steven Breedlove. Denlay is a stay-at-home mother who campaigned on increased public safety and government transparency. 

In District 5, Coolidge is reported to have received 1,753 votes, which puts him ahead of progressive contender Lauren Kohler and former Mayor Stone. 

Coolidge previously served on the council from 2014-2018. He lost his bid for reelection in 2018 but returned for the 2020 election pushing for new city projects and increased public safety. 

Tandon has received 2,445 votes in a close race against Rich Ober, who garnered 2,397 votes. 

Butte County’s Clerk-Recorder’s Office reported on Nov. 4 at 2:28 a.m. that approximately 71% of registered voters participated in the election while same-day registration voters are still being considered, Grubbs said. 

Kimberly Morales can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @kimberlymnews.

Correction: This story has been updated to note that candidate Rich Ober is not an incumbent, but a new candidate for city council.