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Where do City Council District 4 candidates stand on election day?

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On election day in Sacramento, candidates in the running for City Council seats are staying focused on the polls and counting votes. After months of campaigning, interviews, candidate forums and meet-and-greets, where do the candidates for District 4 stand now as voters start lining up to the polls?

David Turturici – The estate planning attorney from South Land Park said early in the race that he was running because he opposed – vehemently – Mayor Kevin Johnson’s arena plan. When the arena deal flatlined, Turturici’s campaign lost its basis, and Turturici lost steam. He didn’t lose his humor about it, however. When asked if he was going to suspend his campaign in May after blowing off a candidate forum, Turturici responded with tongue firmly in cheek.

“No, no,” he said. “I’m going to win. You’ll see. I predict I will get 52 percent on June 5. There won’t even be a runoff.”

Michael Rehm – Local attorney Rehm’s low-key campaign included a live Internet show called “The Candidate at Eight,” where he sat in front of his webcam every weeknight at 8 p.m. to answer questions from District 4 residents. The first few shows gave him a chance to talk about raising revenue in the city by allowing naming rights on local buildings and pursuing the health industry to diversify the local economy.

Although a novel concept, the Internet show didn’t really take off – and neither did Rehm’s campaign. As the race wore on, Rehm said his shoestring budget and full-time criminal defense practice prevented him from “going all-out” to compete for the District 4 seat, and he doesn’t expect to be a top vote-getter in the primary.

Neil Davidson – Computer programmer Davidson said he joined the District 4 race after hearing Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum speak about the future of America. It “scared” him into “stepping up to the plate” to get involved in government, he said in January. It may not have been enough to fuel his fire to the finish line, however: Davidson’s quiet campaign peaked after four campaign forums and a few media interviews.

Davidson said he’s OK with that because, for him, the experience has been worth it.

“The best part has been that the things I wanted to talk about – medium-sized entertainment venues and Safe Ground – actually made it into print,” he said. “None of the other candidates really talked about those things, and now they are. I think that’s awesome.”

Terry Schanz – Self-described “hometown boy” Schanz has been hitting some high notes with his campaign for City Council, including endorsements from Sacramento Central Labor Council, Sacramento City Teachers Association and Sacramento County Young Democrats, and a smattering of bright orange yard signs throughout District 4. What Schanz doesn’t seem to have, however, is momentum to match his competitors who have a combination of money, experience and strong media presence.

If lawn signs and Internet buzz are any indications, he has failed to generate the same level of grassroots enthusiasm as the other candidates.

That said, Schanz’s campaign has been a direct-to-the-voters effort with walking neighborhoods and knocking on doors, but will that be enough to prevail?

Phyllis Newton – Newton has set the bar in the District 4 race for collecting endorsements and raising money: She’s backed by influential organizations like the Sacramento Metro Chamber and Sacramento Firefighters Local 522, she got The Sacramento Bee’s endorsement, and her campaign spending reached nearly $120,000 – not including more than $50,000 in independent expenditures made by supporters.

And, of course, there’s that ginormous billboard at the corner of 20th and J streets.

The attorney-turned-nonprofit organization director from Land Park has outpaced her opponents in many ways, but she’s ruffled some feathers along the way, especially in Midtown and central city neighborhoods where her message met resistance when the conversation turned to Second Saturday Art Walk and parking issues.

Steve Hansen – Social media powerhouse Hansen knows his way around Facebook and the Twittersphere: In one recent email blast, he told contacts that his team is “using new media to create a virtual ‘war room’ ” on election night.

Within hours of announcing his candidacy, Midtown resident Hansen made himself available via nearly every digital network, building an Internet presence that he and his campaign team backed up with almost-daily neighborhood walks and meet-and-greets with potential voters.

That kind of connectivity has helped Hansen get his name out in a big way, – but will all that digital media savvy translate outside of the Midtown and central city neighborhoods where Hansen’s fellow young professionals and hip urbanites call home?

As the only Midtown candidate in a wide field, Hansen will need to capture at least some support from the historically powerful Land Park voting block.

Joe Yee – Yee is the veteran of the group: His resume includes 19 years on the city planning commission and a stint as an interim council member back in 2000.

His experience has proven valuable on the campaign trail. When the Sacramento Old City Association asked about long-term efforts to preserve parts of the central city, Yee addressed their underlying concern: keeping the historic character of older neighborhoods intact. When the Land Park Community Association asked where to put a bridge over the Sacramento River, Yee said that points north of Sutterville Road suited him fine, which is exactly what concerned members of the audience wanted to hear.

Yee may have political chops, but that may not be ienough in a race where he’ll have to make up for for his lack of a strong web presence among a field of technology-adept competitors.

District 4 is one of two open seats in the primary without an incumbent in the race and a wide field of candidates eyeing the seat. With so many strong candidates, It appears likely the primary election will result in a runoff of the top two vote-getters in November – but the big question is, which two will it be? We should find out Tuesday night.

Melissa Corker is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press. Follow her on Twitter @MelissaCorker.

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