ESCONDIDO, Calif. — In a race for Escondido’s next mayor that is still too close to call, challenger Dane White says if he wins he’s ready to give it a shot.

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. 

With mail-in ballots and drop-offs still outstanding as of 8 p.m. Tuesday when the polls closed, White was down by 30 points.

“It was hard to stay positive and it took two hours to get that second batch, so some people had left and that second batch only revealed like a four vote change,” said White. “So we all went home and then I stayed up until about 3 o’clock waiting.”

That’s when he took the lead.

As of Tuesday, White was still in the lead and had garnered nearly 52% of the vote compared to Incumbent Mayor Paul McNamara’s roughly 48%. There were still 7,000 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.