Incumbent Santa Ana City Council members Michele Martinez, Sal Tinajero and David Benavides are leading the race for council seats, early vote-by-mail returns show.

In Santa Ana, candidates run in geographic districts known as wards, but are still elected at-large.

According to the returns, Martinez has 54.1 percent of the vote in ward 2. At second place is educator/web developer Gilad Salmon with 21.5 percent. Businesswoman Mirna Velasquez is in third place with 15.2 percent, and businessman Rene Gomez is in fourth place with 9.2 percent.

In Ward 6, Tinajero is leading with 67.5 percent of the vote. Challenger Miguel “Mike” Gonzalez, who owns a nightclub on First st. called El Mexicanisimo and a security company, is in second place with 32.5 percent.

Benavides is leading in Ward 4 with 58.3 percent of the vote. His opponent, paralegal Alex Padilla, is in second place with 41.7 percent. 

Velasquez, Padilla and Gonzalez have been campaigning together on a slate with incumbent Mayor Miguel Pulido, who is seeking to unseat council incumbents after the council majority turned against him in recent years.

This story will be updated as results come in.

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