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Close contests keeps candidates in limbo
All local measures get voter approval
Amy Bublak
Amy Bublak

Election Day may be over, but it will still be awhile before winners are finalized.

The Stanislaus County Registrar of Voters reported counting 113,471 ballots across the county on Election Day, however, the elections office still has approximately 50,000 vote by mail ballots received on or just before Nov. 8 and 12,700 provisional ballots to count,  along with 900 miscellaneous ballots that require examination, before official results can be released.

Where these additional ballots may count the most is the Turlock City Council District 4 race, as only 36 votes separate leader Steven Nascimento and runner-up Amy Bublak. Nascimento received 1,808 votes as of Wednesday, with Bublak trailing at 1,772. Candidate Donald Babadalir received 203 votes. There's no way to know at this time how many of the uncounted ballots are from Turlock's District 4, but until all votes are counted it's still anyone's race to win.

The District 4 race began with controversy and the two candidates, and current city council members, have differing views on a number of key issues.

In previous elections the address of each candidate didn't matter, as long as it was in the city limits. In 2015, however, the City Council adopted Turlock's first ever Districting Plan that started with the 2016 election. Before, all residents of Turlock could vote for their top two City Council candidates. Now, each district has its own election for representation on the Council.

Bublak moved in late 2015 from a residence that is located in the District 3 area to one in District 4, setting up a race where she and fellow Council member Nascimento would be running directly against each other to stay on the Council.

Bublak said earlier this year that her move had nothing to do with the election.

The months leading up to the election saw the two Council members taking opposing stances on issues. In March, Bublak voted yes to awarding Golden State Farmers Market Association a three-year contract to operate a downtown farmers market. Nascimento opposed the contract and continued his support for the Turlock Certified Farmers Market, which had operated a nonprofit market in downtown Turlock for the previous six years before the Council voted in December 2015 to create a bid process.

In June, Bublak voted to adopt a voluntary campaign finance ordinance. Nascimento voted against the ordinance stating that you can't "legislate ethics." He has long been an advocate for mandatory campaign finance regulations that also accounts for aggregation of donations.

On Tuesday, Nascimento said he hoped to have a larger lead but thought that his "campaign resonated with voters and it shows in the results."

As the official election results are not expected to be submitted until Dec. 8, both Bublak and Nascimento will be part of the next City Council meeting set for 6 p.m. Tuesday.

In the Turlock City Council District 2 race, Gil Esquer has a significant lead over Jaime Franco (62 percent to 37 percent).  For City Treasurer, Diana Lewis held a large lead over challenger Alex Kiehl. She had garnered 58 percent of the vote to his 42 percent.

Representatives of District 2 and 4 are expected to be sworn in at the City Council's Dec. 13 meeting.

The race to represent Yosemite Community College District Area 3 is a close one, with incumbent Abe Rojas leading with 44 percent of the vote, 492 votes ahead of Bill Holly, who is at 41 percent as of Wednesday. Candidate Kevin Sabo received 13 percent of the vote.

Local measures for a countywide road tax and two school bonds received the required number of votes to pass.

Seventy percent of voters said yes to Measure L  — a 25-year, half-cent sales tax measure will be used to pay for countywide local street and road improvements, arterial street widening, signalization, pedestrian, bicyclist and driver safety — surpassing the two-third majority vote needed to pass. 

A number of school safety and modernization projects are within reach at Turlock Unified School District after preliminary results from Tuesday’s election showed that a majority of votes cast were in support of two general obligation bond measures — a $40.8 million elementary bond measure and a $48 million district wide bond measure. As of Wednesday, 67 percent of voters said yes to Measure N and 66 percent approved of Measure 0. Both measures needed 55 percent of the vote to pass.

Public office newcomer Heath Flora beat out former San Joaquin County Supervisor Ken Vogel, 52 percent to 47 percent to take California's 12th Assembly District seat. The race for the 12th Assembly District seat was believed to be the only instance where two members of the GOP faced each other in the general election for a seat in the California Legislature that is dominated by Democrats.

President-elect Donald Trump figured large in California's 10th District, where Republican incumbent Jeff Denham prevailed in a rematch against Democrat Michael Eggman, both Turlock farmers.

Denham led by 5 percentage points, or about 7,400 votes, of some 154,000 counted and The Associated Press called the race for him because of the remote likelihood Eggman would get enough of the remaining uncounted votes to overcome the deficit.

Eggman has not conceded.

"As expected, this race is incredibly close," Eggman campaign manager Josh Lord said Wednesday. "There are still a significant number of ballots outstanding and it's important to allow the registrars time to count every vote."

Denham defeated Eggman by 20 points in the June primary and by 12 points in 2014. Still, the district voted twice for President Barack Obama and was considered one of the tightest races in the country. National Democratic leaders made it a top priority.

Updated election results can be found at and