CITY HALL Challenger Ted Winterer continued to trail in the only still-undecided race for a City Council seat on Tuesday, with Los Angeles County election officials releasing an updated tally that showed only a one-vote change in the razor thin gap between Winterer and incumbent Bob Holbrook.

Winterer trailed by 42 votes after picking up 366 since Friday, bringing his total to 12,429. Holbrook’s vote total increased by 365, bringing his total to 12,471 and keeping him in third place in the race for three four-year terms on the council.

The results were a blow to Winterer, who since election day has steadily gained ground on Holbrook each time updated totals have been released, narrowing Holbrook’s advantage by 104 votes in the past two weeks.

But the outcome of the election remained in doubt on Tuesday as election officials were unable to provide an estimate of how many ballots remained outstanding.

Even before new ballots were counted on Tuesday, though, a Los Angeles County election official said in an e-mail he “would doubt if there were any large numbers” of unprocessed Santa Monica ballots.

Reached on Tuesday, Winterer said it’s difficult to estimate how many Santa Monica ballots could remain, but pointed out there is still a sizable chunk of unprocessed ballots countywide.

On Monday, county officials estimated there were 160,000 ballots that remained to be counted, or 40 percent of the nearly 400,000 ballots they announced needed to be processed as of Nov. 3.

Holbrook, meanwhile, said he was resigned to waiting until the county certifies the election on Nov. 30 to know its outcome.

“This is a tough situation,” he said, adding that there’s no sense of competition between himself and Winterer as vote tallying continues. “We’re just a couple of guys that ran for City Council trying to get elected. That’s all it is.”

Whoever comes up short has the option of calling for a recount, but the cost, estimated at between $3,000 and $4,000 a day for the unknown number of days the work would take, would fall to the candidate challenging the results. (If the recount changes the outcome of the election, though, a reimbursement would be made.)

Winterer, who was behind by .05 percent of the vote on Tuesday, said he was undecided about the possibility of asking for a recount.

nickt@smdp.com