By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Bublak leading in Turlock Mayoral race
Bixel, Abram ahead in respective Council districts
Bublak election night
Turlock Mayor Amy Bublak (center) was joined by dozens of family and friends at her election night watch party on Tuesday at Jura's Pizza Parlor (CHRISTOPHER CORREA/The Journal).


Turlock Journal


While the vast majority of Turlock voters cast their ballots by mail this year, local voting centers saw a steady stream of in-person voters on Tuesday as residents made their selections in the Mayoral and City Council District 1 and 3 races.

Incumbent Amy Bublak saw an early lead in the Turlock Mayoral race, but challenger Gil Esquer was only a few hundred votes behind as of 9:20 p.m. Tuesday night.

“I worked my whole career as a police officer to keep my record clean, so it did bother me to be attacked constantly, but I just kept my head down. I know my plan; I've been doing this long enough to know what's best for me. I just did my game and hopefully it pays off,” said Bublak, who spent election night amongst family, friends and supporters at Jura’s Pizza.

“I am cautiously optimistic, but I will be humbled as long as I'm in office and even after. I am not the title; I am the person carrying the title if I am given four more years. I've truly enjoyed the opportunity, and it's just up to God,” she continued.

“I feel like I couldn't do anything else [campaign-wise]. If it's not my time, then I enjoyed what I had.”

Bublak, who served on the Turlock City Council for 10 years before she was elected mayor in 2018, garnered 4,063 (52.34%) votes by 9:20 p.m. Tuesday to Esquer’s 3,699 votes (47.66%).

Esquer was not ready to concede just yet.

“It’s early; a lot of ballots to count,” he said. “I think we ran a pretty good campaign.”

Esquer, who served on the City Council for District 2 from 2016-2020, said this campaign was “completely different” than when he ran for the Council seat.

“I’m just a poor kid from the westside running for mayor,” he laughed.

Kevin Bixel had a significant lead (61.10%) over Chris Nichols (38.90%) in the Turlock City Council District 1 race at 9:20 p.m. Tuesday.

Despite the lead, Bixel said it was “way too early to be celebrating.”

“It’s not over til it’s over,” he said.

Bixel, a physician’s assistant, compared his fist election night jitters to having a first baby.

“We went into labor about two hours ago and it’s a big baby,” he joked.

Cassandra Abram led all candidates in the City Council District 3 race on Tuesday night with 50% of the vote, followed by Kelly Higgins with 31.21%, Ryan Taylor with 13.79% and Ramin Odisho at 5%.

“There are still votes to count, but I’m really optimistic about it. I’m proud of what we accomplished for running a positive and thoughtful campaign,” Abram said.

Higgins spent election night awaiting results along with mayoral candidate Bublak and Turlock Unified School Board candidates Jeff Cortinas and Paola Maldonado-Padilla at Jura’s.

“The support has been amazing and tonight has been amazing... Being here tonight, the atmosphere is so positive, and whether I win or lose, I want to meet people and be more involved. I wasn't involved before except with my church, my son's school, and now I'm involved in my community and I'm enjoying it and that's what I want to continue to do,” she said.