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Big night for California Democrats
Results show Dirkse, Kuykendall lead in local sheriff, school races
voting pic
Over 300 voters showed up to the polls at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church on Tuesday in Turlock. - photo by ANGELINA MARTIN/The Journal

Stanislaus County voters hit the polls for the Primary Election Tuesday, deciding on multiple representatives and propositions in the process.


The race to see who will lead the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department appears to be over, as Jeff Dirkse had received a majority of the vote as of 10 p.m. Tuesday. Dirkse received 16,504 votes, while Juan Alanis received 13,177.


The two candidates have been at odds throughout their respective campaigns, taking shots at each other both on social media and through public statements. The Stanislaus Sworn Deputies Association, who has endorsed Dirkse, posted a letter to Facebook in May which detailed Alanis’ employment history, including poor performance ratings.


In response, Alanis had contested the claims and put his personnel file up for viewing on his website. During his campaign, Alanis has been vocal in criticizing Sheriff Adam Christianson, who has endorsed Dirkse, for his alleged mistreatment of employees.


With only two candidates, Dirkse will be named to office if he wins the Primary Election.

Three education veterans were vying to become Stanislaus County’s new Superintendent of Schools Tuesday as well.

Gratton School District Superintendent Shannon Sanford, Waterford Unified School District Superintendent Don Davis and Stanislaus County Office of Education Assistant Superintendent Scott Kuykendall all tossed their hats into the ring to replace County Superintendent Tom Changnon, who announced in January that he would not be seeking reelection.

As of 10 p.m. Tuesday, Kuykendall had received 12,897 votes, while Sanford and Davis had received 9,281 and 7,500, respectively.

California State Senate and Assembly races were also narrowed down on Tuesday.

Four candidates filed to claim Berryhill’s open seat — Republican Andreas Borgeas, Democrats Tom Pratt and Paulina Miranda and Independent Mark Belden — and another four were in the running for Cannella’s, including Democrats Anna Caballero and Daniel Parra and Republicans Johnny Tacherra and Rob Poythress.

Borgeas had received over half the vote with 5,746 as of 10 p.m. Tuesday for District 8, while Caballero had received 2,523 votes to put her in first place for District 12.

In the California State Assembly, District 12 incumbent Heath Flora defeated Democratic challenger Robert D. Chase with 13,491 votes, compared to Chase’s 8,499 as of 10 p.m. Tuesday. District 21 incumbent Adam Gray was unchallenged in the election and will serve another term.

Birgit Fladager had received the most votes for District Attorney as of 10 p.m. Tuesday night, moving one step closer to reassuming the role. If she reaches 50 percent plus one vote, she will not face a runoff election in November. In total, Fladager received 14,820 votes — good enough for 49.03 percent, so far. John R. Mayne is the closest candidate behind her with 6,913 votes. 

In the race to see who will replace Gov. Jerry Brown, Democrat Gavin Newsom came out on top as of 10 p.m. Tuesday, receiving 860,825 votes statewide for 33.7 percent of the vote. Newsom only received 25 percent of the vote in Stanislaus County, however, with 8,314 votes. Newsom finished second in Stanislaus County to Republican John H. Cox, who received nearly 30 percent of the county vote with 9,675 votes. Cox finished second in voting statewide with 677,891 votes, and it is likely he will faceoff against Newsom in the November election.


The Lieutenant Governor race was still too close to call as of Tuesday night, with Democrat Eleni Kounalakis receiving 22.8 percent of the statewide vote, or 579,597 votes. In Stanislaus County, Kounalakis received 24.27 percent of the vote, or 7,477 votes. She’s followed closely by Democrat Ed Hernandez, who received 505,470 statewide votes (4,655 in Stanislaus County), and Republican Cole Harris, who received 479,326 (7,069 in Stanislaus County).


It appears that Democrat Alex Padilla is on his way to the November election to win back his role as California Secretary of State following Tuesday’s preliminary results, which showed him receiving over 50 percent of the statewide vote, or 1,292,385 votes. He received 12,090 votes in Stanislaus County, followed closely by Republican Mark Meuser who received 11,638.


Democrat Betty T. Yee is ahead in the race to become State Controller, collecting 1,544,354 statewide votes and 60.4 percent of the total vote. She also won by a large margin in Stanislaus County with 52 percent of the vote. She was followed by Republican Konstantinos Roditis, who received 35.6 percent of the vote and will join Yee in the November election.


Another landslide victory was determined Tuesday night for Democrat Fiona Ma, who will head to the November election for Treasurer after receiving 42.5 percent of the vote. Republican Greg Conlon was the closest to her, with 22.8 percent of the vote. In Stanislaus County, Ma was also the top vote-getter with 11,470.


Nearly 50 percent of the statewide total vote for Attorney General went to Democrat Xavier Becerra, who received 1,163,416 votes. In Stanislaus County, Becerra also won thanks to 11,219 votes in his favor, or 35.45 percent. Republican Steven C. Bailey finished behind Becerra both statewide in in Stanislaus County.


Democrat Ricardo Lara and Steve Poizner (no party preference listed) were in a close race for Insurance Commissioner as of 10 p.m. Tuesday night, with Lara receiving 38.9 percent of the vote and Poizner receiving 42.8 percent of the vote. In Stanislaus County, Poizner received 14,292 votes while Lara received 9.866. Poizner was ahead of Lara by over one million votes statewide Tuesday night, however, both will head to the November election.


Marshal Tuck and Tony Thurmond will head to the November election after receiving 37.5 percent of the vote and 33.4 percent of the vote, respectively. The pair were the top two vote-getters in Stanislaus County as well, with Tuck receiving 13,803 votes and Thurmond receiving 9,388 votes.

Voters weren’t just voting for representatives on Tuesday; they also had some measures to consider.

Proposition 68 received 1,264,676 statewide to pass as of 10 p.m. on Tuesday but did not pass in Stanislaus County by a vote of 15,821 to 14,471. The measure authorizes $4 billion in general obligation bonds for parks, natural resources protection, climate adaptation, water quality and supply, and flood protection, and local government savings for natural resources-related projects will likely average several tens of millions of dollars annually over the next few decades.

Proposition 69 also passed statewide with 1,899,565 “yes” votes. In Stanislaus County, 84 percent of voters cast a ballot in favor of the proposition, which requires that certain revenues generated by a 2017 transportation funding law be used only for transportation purposes and generally prohibits Legislature from diverting funds to other purposes. There will be no direct effect on the amount of state and local revenues or costs, but it could affect how some monies are spent.

Proposition 70 did not pass statewide, by a margin of 38.9 percent to 61.1 percent. In Stanislaus County, 18,210 voters chose “no” for the proposition, while 11,447 voted “yes.” Beginning in 2024, the proposition would’ve required that cap-and-trade revenues accumulate in a reserve fund until the Legislature, by a two-thirds majority, authorizes use of the revenues. Beginning in 2024, there would also be a potential temporary increase in state sales tax revenue, ranging from none to a few hundred million dollars annually, and possible changes in how revenue from sale of greenhouse gas emission permits is spent.

Proposition 71 passed statewide with 1,745,371 “yes” votes and county wide with 75 percent of the vote. It provides that ballot measures approved by a majority of voters shall take effect five days after the Secretary of State certifies the results of the election.

Proposition 72 permits Legislature to allow construction of rain-capture systems, completed on or after January 1, 2019, without requiring property-tax reassessment, and passed statewide thanks to an 83.5 percent “yes” vote and a 79 percent county wide “yes” vote.