The 2018 election officially comes to an end with some surprising results, but most incumbents reassume their seats
By Paul Myers @PaulM_SGN
TULARE COUNTY – The results are in and voters have spoken, with some surprising results. Some elected officials around the county are re-taking their seats this month, while others are sitting down behind the dais for the first time.
Congressional District 22
Andrew Janz was the closest candidate to take down Devin Nunes since he was elected in 2002. And Nunes won by his lowest margin in 16 years. By the end of canvassing Janz had gathered 47.3 percent of the vote while Nunes gathered 52.7 percent. In Tulare County, which is almost entirely encompassed in the 22nd district Janz gathered 46.3 percent of the vote to Nunes’ 53.7 percent. And in Fresno county the numbers were roughly the same with Janz at 47.8 percent and Nunes at 52.2%.
Senate District 14
Without a doubt the most surprising upset to come out of this year’s election was in the State Senate 14 district. While his dad was taking his leave of office, Andy Vidak was also taking his albeit under very different circumstances. By the time all the votes were tallied Melissa Hurtado trounced Vidak by almost 17,000 votes and more than 10 percentage points.
Hurtado ran on lower drug costs and increased access to healthcare, jobs in the Valley, greater resources for early education and clean air and water.
“I was out in the community knocking on doors and getting a lot of positive feedback and that gave me a lot of confidence and hope that we had a real shot at winning this,” Hurtado said in an interview with the Fresno Bee after the election.
Senate District 16
Longtime representative Jean Fuller termed out as senator of the 16th district that encompasses large swaths of south-east California but also cities like Tulare, Exeter and Bakersfield. In her place will now be fellow republican Shannon Grove who pulled out a decisive 64.2% to 35.8% victory over democrat Ruth Musser-Lopez.
Grove was endorsed by several U.S. Congressmen and Senators but was also given the thumbs up by outgoing senator Fuller. Before being elected last month, Grove served as an assembly member in the 34 district from 2010 to 2016 and then decided not to seek re-election. Her campaign this year revolved some of the priorities she pursued in the Assembly: water, public safety and a reduction of regulations.
Assembly District 26
Despite some democratic fervor in the district incumbent Devon Mathis managed to keep his seat with almost 58% of the vote. With a quasi coalition of democratic candidates, Andrew Janz and Melissa Hurtado on his side, Jose Sigala was still unable to topple Mathis and gathered just 42.1% of the vote.
The race was called early on in favor of the Mathis and he has managed to keep his leading margin throughout canvassing.
Exeter City Council
Mayor Teresa Boyce can sit comfortably for at least another four years now that she has won her re-election race. Boyce defeated challenger Melanie Morton by a margin of 44 votes, 249-205. This is the first contested race in Exeter’s new district election format. Areas C and D were already decided. Mary Waterman-Philpot representing Area D was uncontested, while incumbent Gordon Gerdes representing Area C decided not to run for re-election. His seat is now filled by Frankie Alves.
Lindsay City Council
The race was called weeks ago, but newcomer Yolanda Flores and returner to the council Rosaena Arevalo-Sanchez have officially taken their seats. Flores commanded the race with 32.20% of the vote while Sanchez came in with a final 26.20%. Former mayor pro tem Danny Salina, and councilmember Steve Velasquez conceded shortly after the votes started being tallied. Velasquez took 487 votes while Salinas gathered the least with 479.
Woodlake City Council
Since Tulare County finished their final tally, nothing changed in Woodlake. The three councilmembers, Louie Lopez, Frances Ortiz and Greg Gonzalez were all re-elected over challengers Lupe Robles Pinon, daughter of Ortiz and Florencio Guerra.
Gonzalez gathered the largest percentage of votes with 22.73 percent. Ortiz came in second with 22.08 and Lopez came in third with 20.91 percent. All of them gathered over 500 votes.
Farmersville City Council
Farmersville knew they would see at least one new city council member by the end of counting, but they ended up seeing two. Mayor Paul Boyer was the only sitting member to retain his seat on the dais, but got the third most votes at 512. Mayor pro tem Matt Sisk was just 16 votes shy of overtaking Boyer with 496.
Ruben Macareno had a lead on election night and managed to maintain it through canvassing, making him the top vote getter with 603. Joining Macareno is fellow newcomer Tina Hernandez. Hernandez managed to grab 537 votes by the end of counting.
“The past four years have been interesting. Congratulations to the winners of this year’s election. If the council works together, I’m sure they can continue to build the City in a positive direction. I hope they can make decisions that are best for the community as a whole,” Sisk said in concession.
Voters decided to employ Tim Hire as their Tulare County Superintendent of Schools. Hire had maintained a steady lead all the way through canvassing and ended up defeating deputy superintendent, and challenger, Craig Wheaton 51.68 percent to 47.63.