Kerry Chan/Daily Journal
Assistant County Controller Juan Raigoza celebrates his victory in Redwood City Tuesday night.
Assistant County Controller Juan Raigoza beat out CPA Joe Galligan to head the department in a race that began with allegations that he did not meet the legal requirements for the job and ended with him taking the lead after the polls closed and never letting go.
Raigoza received 64.1 percent of the vote while Galligan received 35.9 percent, according to the final election tally Tuesday night.
“It is was exciting and it was good,” Raigoza said of seeing the first returns in his favor and watching his lead never slip.
Raigoza said he was proud of how his camp conducted itself during the campaign which he called “an interesting lesson and welcoming to politics.”
In other county races, all challenged incumbents held on to their seats and a number ran unopposed. But it was the controller spot — a job which is essentially the county’s chief financial officer heading a staff of 42 — that received the greatest attention as Galligan challenged Raigoza’s qualifications and even took the matter to court.
Raigoza, 47, has worked in the Controller’s Office for 13 years and was named second in charge in 2012 when current Controller Bob Adler was appointed to finish his predecessor’s term. Galligan, a 58-year-old former Burlingame mayor who unsuccessfully ran for treasurer-tax collector four years ago, argued that Raigoza’s experience did not meet one of four required criteria such as serving in a senior fiscal management position for at least three continuous years. He petitioned the court to have Raigoza removed from the ballot and then appealed a judge’s decision to let the name stand. A higher court refused to hear the appeal.
Galligan was not available for comment.
Raigoza’s goals are to continue increasing transparency, looking for efficiencies and utilizing technology.
With his success, Raigoza is the only new face becoming an elected county department head.
Mark Church, chief elections officer and assessor-county clerk-recorder, prevailed 85.7 percent to 14.3 percent over John K. Mooney who ran as a write-in candidate against him in 2010.
“I’m honored by the strong showing of support and grateful to the people for re-electing [me]. I will continue to serve to the best of my ability for four more years,” Church said.
Coroner Robert Foucrault, who has held the office since 2001, beat small businessman Rick Dalton with 86.7 percent of the vote. Dalton, 48, ran because he was interested in holding an elected office.
Sheriff Greg Munks was the only person officially on the ballot for his job but 26-year deputy Juan Lopez, 50, challenged him as a write-in candidate. The Elections Office did not post any votes in his favor.
District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe, Treasurer-Tax Collector Sandie Arnott and County School Superintendent Anne Campbell all ran unopposed. Even so, Wagstaffe said he was happy about voters’ show of support.
“I am grateful to the community that I get another four years to serve them the best I can,” Wagstaffe said.
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