Anaheim voters this election will decide who will be their next mayor – six months after federal agents revealed an explosive corruption probe into city hall that led Mayor Harry Sidhu to resign and the rest of the council to scrap the Angel Stadium land sale.

Here’s the results as of 11:00 p.m. from the Orange County Registrar of Voters: 

  • Ashleigh Aitken was ahead of Trevor O’Neil by 1,773 votes in the mayoral race, with Lorri Galloway trailing behind.
  • Gloria Ma’ae was ahead of Carlos Leon by 384 votes in the District 2 council race. 
  • Natalie Rubalcava was ahead of Al Jabbar by 1,054 votes in the District 3 council race.
  • Natalie Meeks was ahead of Hari Shankar Lal by 5,166 votes in the District 6 council race.

Here’s who’s backing the candidates leading up to the election in a city where there’s been renewed scrutiny on special interest spending and influence since the FBI corruption probe was made public in May.

Mayor

The citywide mayor race took an interesting turn this year, with conservative donor group, the Lincoln Club of OC, backing candidate Lorri Galloway, a Democrat, while spending against Democratic candidate Ashleigh Aitken. 

Yet their officially endorsed candidate is Councilman Trevor O’Neil.

O’Neil was among the former mayor’s allies who called for his resignation earlier this year.

Aitken, who lost mayoral bid in 2018 to Sidhu, is backed by Anaheim Police Association and has received over $91,000 in support from the union and the Anaheim Firefighters Association has spent over $45,000 to bolster her campaign.

The Helping Working Families Get Ahead PAC – a labor union-funded committee – spent over $138,000 in support of Aitken.

Meanwhile, the Lincoln Club of OC has spent over $271,000 against Aitken and over $134,000 in support of Democrat Galloway despite endorsing O’Neil, who they have spent $10,000 on.

District 2

This race has seen a large spending gap between political newcomer Carlos Leon against the DIsneyland area resort-backed Councilwoman Gloria Ma’ae

She was appointed to the council following the resignation of Jordan Brandman in 2021. 

SOAR has spent over $302,000 to bolster Councilwoman Ma’ae’s campaign. 

She has also been backed by the Anaheim Police Association and the Anaheim Firefighters Association.

Meanwhile, the Helping Working Families Get Ahead PAC – a labor union-funded committee – has spent over $87,000 supporting Leon’s campaign.

District 3

This race has also seen a huge spending disparity, especially when it comes to political action committees. 

Natalie Rubalcava, chief operating officer of the OC Business Council, has had heavy resort backing this election cycle.

Al Jabbar, an Anaheim Union High School District trustee, has had a fraction of political action committee spending on his behalf. 

The Anaheim Resort Workers for an Honest City Council has spent over $36,000 to support Jabbar.

SOAR spent over $379,000 into Rubalcava’s campaign, while the Anaheim Police Association bolstered her city council campaign by spending over $51,000 to support the resort-backed candidate.

District 6

Former Public Works Director and current Planning Commissioner Natalie Meeks has been heavily backed by SOAR with the most spending on her behalf of all candidates. 

Her opponent, political newcomer Hari Shankar Lal, hasn’t had any political action committee spending on his behalf. 

Disney-funded SOAR spent over $546,000 to bolster Meeks’ campaign.

Lal hasn’t had any backing from political action committees, according to campaign finance disclosures.

Hosam Elattar is a Voice of OC reporter and corps member with Report for America, a GroundTruth initiative. Contact him at helattar@voiceofoc.org or on Twitter @ElattarHosam.

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