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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - High-tech entrepreneur Barbara Bry was just shy Wednesday of the number of votes needed to claim a seat on the San Diego City Council, meaning she will have to compete in a November runoff election.
In all, five seats on the nine-member panel were up for grabs in Tuesday's election. Candidates who received a majority of the votes won outright, otherwise the top two vote-getters advanced to a runoff in November.
According to the county Registrar of Voters Office, which released unofficial results early Wednesday after local precincts were counted, Bry was still shy of the 50 percent needed to win the seat outright, although it wasn't immediately clear if late or provisional ballots remained to be counted and might affect the outcome. Barring that, Bry will face businessman Ray Ellis in the November runoff.
Bruce Lightner, husband of Sherri Lightner, placed third in the race, followed by council staffer Kyle Heiskala and Louis Rodolico.
The race for District 1 -- which represents Carmel Valley, La Jolla and University City -- will determine the balance of power on the technically nonpartisan panel.
Democrats cling to a 5-4 majority, which would be maintained with a Bry victory. Lightner, the council president, is being termed out after eight years.
Chris Ward won the race to succeed termed-out Councilman Todd Gloria in District 3, which represents downtown, Hillcrest and North Park. Ward is the chief of staff for Sen. Marty Block, D-San Diego.
"Over the last 12 months, we've talked a lot about making sure that we're prioritizing neighborhood infrastructure first, working on open government issues and certainly homelessness, in this district, there's a lot of impact in neighborhoods,'' Ward said. "People want new leadership, new ideas to be able to solve that and turn that around.''

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In other City Council races, incumbents Mark Kersey and Scott Sherman coasted to reelection.
In District 5 -- Rancho Bernardo, Rancho Penasquitos and Scripps Ranch -- Kersey bested Fotios "Frank'' Tsimboukakis and Keith Mikas.
In District 7 -- Linda Vista, Mission Valley and San Carlos -- Sherman easily defeated Justin DeCesare and Jose Caballero.
In District 9, where Councilwoman Marti Emerald chose not to run for reelection, her staffer Ricardo Flores won a spot on the general election ballot, as did Georgette Gomez. 

The eventual winner will represent most of City Heights, the College Area and Southcrest.