Lumbard had a comfortable lead over Councilwoman Beckie Gomez, the latest election returns showed Monday evening.
“I am honored and humbled by the trust and confidence that the residents of Tustin have placed in me to lead our community for the next four years,” Lumbard said in a statement to the Register Monday. “My door remains open, and I believe Tustin’s future looks very bright.”
Beckie Gomez could not be immediately reached Monday evening.
When reached last week she said she was “incredibly disappointed in the negative campaigning in this election cycle.”
“Outside efforts to distort my voting record and my campaign only divide the community when now is the time that our city needs to work together to solve pressing issues,” Gomez said. “Unfortunately, some candidates chose to not run on their accomplishments and resorted to misleading campaigning.”
One campaign flyer, for example, said “Tustin Democrats support” Lumbard. But Ronna Weltman, chairwoman of the Tustin Democratic Club, said her organization did not back him. Both the local club and the Democratic Party of Orange County endorsed Beckie Gomez.
“There’s probably a fair number of Democrats who voted for him because he deceived them into thinking that,” Weltman said.
Lumbard, who was endorsed by the Republican Party of Orange County, defended the mailer, saying he was not aware at the time of a Tustin Democratic Club. Lumbard noted that the mayoral post is non-partisan and said he’s supported by Democrats and Republicans in the city. The comment on the mailer, he said, referred to Democrats in general and not a particular club.
Another flyer from a separate committee referred to the two Tustin candidates on the ballot with the last name Gomez as outsiders. With their photos crossed out, the flyer read: “No LA in Tustin.”
Lumbard said his campaign was not involved in putting out that flyer.
Meanwhile, in the race to represent the city’s District 3 area, Ray Schnell was leading Frank Gomez Monday evening, according to the latest tallies from the Orange Country Registrar of Voters.
Council endorsements were split among the two mayoral candidates. Lumbard backed Schnell, a businessman, whereas Beckie Gomez (as well as fellow council members Letitia Clark and Barry Cooper) supported Frank Gomez, a chemistry professor.
In Tustin, like in most cities across Orange County, council members have until now selected among their own for the mostly ceremonial mayor post. That appointment process ended with this election, which also featured the city’s first by-district election. (In 2024, residents in districts 1, 2, and 4 will select their representatives for council.)
Lumbard, an attorney, was first elected to the council in 2018 after serving six years on the Planning Commission. He previously served as a reserve deputy with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
Beckie Gomez, who retired last year as the dean for the Health Science Division at Cypress College, was first elected to the council in 2010 and served for eight years, rejoining in 2020. Council members have passed her over in recent years for the honorary mayoral post, prompting criticism from some political observers.
Until this summer, Beckie Gomez also served on the Orange County Board of Education. She resigned after a lawsuit was filed against her alleging a conflict of interest because she served on both the council and the board of education. Gomez maintained there was no conflict, but she said chose to leave so as to not distract from the board’s work. Had she stayed on the board, she would have had to pay for her own legal defense.
The Orange County Registrar of Voters will continue to tally votes in Tustin and other races.
Assuming he continues to helm Tustin as its newly elected mayor, Lumbard said he does not expect much to change.
“I’m not looking to change the way we do business at all,” he said.
“If you drive the streets of Tustin right now, you’ll see a lot of positive projects,” Lumbard said, noting the planned mixed-use project known as Tustin Legacy and other proposals in the works across the city.
“We’re redoing a couple of parks, building a new dog park, rehabilitating our medians, and beautifying our city. Next Tuesday, we’re considering a community garden.”
“There’s been a lot of progress the past four years. I’m looking forward to continuing that momentum,” Lumbard said.