Santa Cruz City Council: Renée Golder holds strong lead over Sean Maxwell in Westside’s District 6 race

Santa Cruz City Council candidates Renee Golder (left) and Sean Maxwell
Renee Golder (left) and Sean Maxwell, candidates for the Santa Cruz City Council’s District 6 seat, during an October Lookout forum.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Incumbent Santa Cruz City Councilmember Renée Golder was on track for a victory in the District 6 race. On Wednesday, Golder led with 63% of the vote (819 votes) to challenger Sean Maxwell’s 37% (476 votes).

Have something to say? Lookout welcomes letters to the editor, within our policies, from readers. Guidelines here.

Incumbent Santa Cruz City Councilmember Renée Golder appeared headed to victory Wednesday against challenger Sean Maxwell in the race for the District 6 Santa Cruz City Council seat. Golder captured 63% (819 votes) compared to Maxwell’s 37% (476 votes). Six votes were cast for an unnamed write-in candidate.

Golder spent the early part of election night privately with family, then went around town picking up campaign yard signs to “clean up the town.” She said she didn’t feel ready to offer any comments until the race was definitely over.

The oddly shaped District 6, which Maxwell has referred to as the “Louisiana Purchase district,” reaches from the UC Santa Cruz campus in the northwest to the southern half of the Circles neighborhood to the southeast. Roughly 10,500 residents live in District 6.

Golder, principal at Bay View Elementary School and lifelong resident of Santa Cruz County, has served on the city council since April 2020 after a victory in the recall election of City Councilmembers Chris Krohn and Drew Glover. However, that 2020 election was at large. With the voter-approved shift to district-based city council representation, the 2022 election represents the first time Golder can test her popularity in her Westside neighborhood. She has taken on public safety and housing as her key issues throughout the election cycle.

Candidates Sean Maxwell (left) and Justin Cummings at SEIU headquarters Tuesday night.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Maxwell, a carpenter by trade who runs his own general contracting business, has worked to present himself as the more progressive option in the election. Appointed to the city’s planning commission by outgoing City Councilmember Justin Cummings, Maxwell has used his platform to focus on stronger affordability policies and tighter development standards.

Despite some broad areas of agreement when it comes to homelessness and the need for more housing, the candidates have notably clashed on how to attain affordability, as well as their perspectives on the two ballot measures. Golder opposed both Measure N and Measure O; Maxwell wanted to see both pass.


Stay informed on local elections with the latest political news delivered straight from Lookout Santa Cruz’s newsroom. Story and event alerts are sent throughout the week. Sign up here or below.