WHITTIER – Thanks to a 780-vote margin from absentee votes, Joe Vinatieri was holding a large lead over Alex Moisa in Tuesday’s election for a two-year seat on the Whittier City Council.Incumbents Bob Henderson and Greg Nordbak were re-elected in early returns over their only challenger, Joe Marsico, who ran surprisingly well in his 14th unsuccessful attempt to win a council seat. Henderson and Nordbak were seeking their seventh and fourth terms, respectively. Vinatieri and Moisa, both attorneys, also had another challenger in their race for the unexpired term of council member Doug Lopez. Arthur Rock, a church deacon, also ran for that seat but was out of the running in early returns. “The exciting thing for me is how many people came out and said, `I hear you’re running. I want to help you,’ without even being solicited.” Henderson and Nordbak also were happy about their apparent victories. “It just makes us feel good the public gave us the support to put us back for four more years,” Nordbak said. “We’re very grateful the people have returned us again,” Henderson said. “Let’s start working again for the City Council.” Combined, the candidates spent nearly $60,000, but nearly all of that was spent by Moisa and Vinatieri. During the last week, both purchased newspaper advertisements, sent mailers and called voters. They both had campaign signs posted throughout the city. Economic development was the main issue in the race, with Moisa and Vinatieri dueling over their visions. Moisa said he wanted to see Uptown become a destination for consumers, while Vinatieri focused on his slogan, “Live, work and shop in Whittier.” Rock discussed his 10-point plan, which included a market in Uptown Whittier. In the other race, Henderson and Nordbak said Whittier is moving in the right direction and that they can get things done. Marsico told the people he wants to provide a neighborhood trolley system. [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3022160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREOregon Ducks football players get stuck on Disney ride during Rose Bowl eventMoisa came in second two years ago against then- incumbent Dave Butler, who resigned and moved to Texas. The council appointed Lopez to take Butler’s place in early 2005. Lopez chose not to run for the remainder of the unexpired term of Butler this time, citing pressures from his activities in the residential development business. “I’m humbled and I’m feeling relieved,” Vinatieri said of his apparent victory. “It’s been a long three months and it’s been a real exciting, tense, fun and difficult time.” Vinatieri said he received a lot of help from friends.