Councilwoman and surf shop owner Donna Frye led a field of 11 candidates in Tuesday's mayoral election but fell short of the majority required to avoid a runoff. She will face former Police Chief Jerry Sanders on Nov. 8.
With all precincts reporting in the nonpartisan contest, unofficial returns showed Frye with 43 percent of the vote, while Sanders followed with 27 percent.
Earlier this month, former Mayor Dick Murphy resigned just seven months into his term amid a pension fund scandal that has left City Hall in shambles. Less than 72 hours later, his interim replacement lost the job when he was convicted of corruption for taking bribes from a strip club owner.
Frye, a 53-year-old Democrat who nearly defeated Murphy with a write-in campaign last year, urged her supporters to redouble campaign efforts in the months ahead as the city struggles on without an elected mayor. Councilwoman Toni Atkins is serving in the interim.
"We need to do more in November. If we can do this in nine weeks, think about what we can do in the next couple of months," Frye said. "Come November, we'll be standing here again."