ESCONDIDO, Calif. — Dane White has been elected as Escondido’s next mayor, election results showed Thursday.

The businessman and school board member says he was just as surprised as anyone that the race turned in his favor after a contentious start riddled with dirty politics. 

White garnered nearly 52% of the vote compared to Incumbent Mayor Paul McNamara’s roughly 48%. There were still 4,600 projected outstanding ballots countywide, according to the San Diego County Registrar of Voters.

White is a fifth-generation resident of Escondido and has openly shared his life’s struggles before turning it around and becoming a successful businessman. He thinks that has helped his campaign.

“I have a little bit of background experience in drugs and alcohol and homelessness, and some of that is what shapes a little bit of our policy proposals,” said White. “And I think that is what has resonated with people this entire time. It’s my personal experience, but also we were not giving generic policy proposals. We were very specific with what we want to do.”

McNamara also campaigned on homeless issues, saying Escondido has seen the number of people living on the street decline during his term. FOX 5 reached out to McNamara for comment, but did not hear back.