Local Election Results Reveal Upsets and Surprises

Larry Micari had the endorsement of former State Senator Any Vidak

While the Tulare and Kings Counties’ Congressional and Assembly races remain too close to call, local races are all but decided.

Tulare Council gets two new members, Mayor stays

With a razor-thin margin, Tulare appears to have two new city council members.

With all districts reporting on election night, Mayor Jose Sigala retained his seat with a nearly two-to-one victory over Clara Bernardo in Area 1, while in Area 5, voters replaced incumbent Greg Nunley handily, awarding a majority to newcomer Patrick Isherwood, whose numbers indicate a solid win.

In the most watched race, between incumbent Carlton Jones and his opponent, Steve Harrell, in Area 3, Jones appears to have been unseated by a mere 55 votes.

Harrell’s Close Win

Harrell, who spent the election evening at an event for fellow colleague Isherwood, was surprised to find out he’d won. He had already decided to retire for the night when news of the result came.

“I guess I’m not a true politician, if I’m not willing to stay up until midnight to find out,” he said.

As election day approached, Jones was caught destroying one of Harrell’s election signs after Harrell’s son was arrested during a sting by the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office and accused of soliciting sex with a minor. But, on the whole, Harrell avoided involving himself in Jones’ attempts to link Harrell’s son’s legal trouble with the campaign.

The margin of the vote was narrow, with 993 (51.42%) votes for Harrell and 938 (48.58%) votes for Jones.

“I’m pleased,” Harrell said. “I ran what I consider to be a very fair and ethical campaign. I didn’t attack anybody. That was my game plan.”

This is the second time area voters have given Harrell a position of responsibility. He also serves as a member of the Tulare Local Health Care District’s governing board. He says he’ll be thanking his supporters by serving responsibly.

“They must have felt I have something to offer to them,” he said.

Isherwood Wins Five-Way Race

Late on election night, the apparent winner in Area 5 was still awaiting the county’s certified results before declaring victory.

“I’m pretty happy with where it came out,” Isherwood said. “I’m a candidate, so I like to wait until that final certification, but I’m very excited.”

Isherwood, an asset manager for Self-Help Enterprises, took a plurality of votes, garnering 39.68% of votes, according to late returns. That outpaced his nearest competition, Grady Dodson, by nearly 17 points. Isherwood had 1,576 votes to Dodson’s 907. Challengers Mario Flores had 793 votes (19.96%), and Courtney Oliver had 214 (5.39%).

Incumbent Greg Nunley, who recently ended a unsuccessful $16.5 million lawsuit against the city for libel and slander, received only 482 votes (12.13%).

Sigala Welcomes Newcomers

“I congratulate Steve Harrell and Patrick Isherwood on their apparent victories,” Tulare’s mayor said.

Mayor Sigala retained his own seat with 849 (60.95%) votes to 544 (39.05%) for Bernardo.

“I’m very proud of the race we put together and obviously humbled by the support of the voters,” he said. “I feel good about the last minute voters. Lots of folks we called said, ‘We dropped it (their ballot) off today.’”

Sigala and Jones have clashed frequently, and he was pleased to hear Jones is likely out.

“Early returns have him losing the race, and I hope they stay that way,” Sigala said.

He looks forward to working with two new councilmen, and Isherwood echoed that sentiment.

“I look forward to working with the council members. I think we’ve had a great relationship working on projects in the past,” Isherwood said. “I think we’ll have a good mix. It’ll be good to work with them moving forward.”

He hopes things will improve for Tulare.

“We have a new day,” Isherwood said.

Micari Ahead for Tulare County Supervisor

With 98.5% of the votes counted for Tulare County Supervisor District 1, challenger Larry Micari has the lead over incumbent Kyler Crocker. Not wanting to take a victory lap until all the votes are counted and the election is certified, Micari said he was very pleased with the result and optimistic about the final outcome.

During the March 3 Primary Micari held a similar lead against Crocker.

Mixed Bag for Sierra View Board of Directors

There was a mixed bag of results in the very contentious race for the Sierra View Medical Center Board of Directors. Three seats were up for grabs: Zones 1, 2, and 4.

Zone 1 was an open seat as incumbent Daniel Smith decided not to run. With 100% of the precincts reporting, Dr. Bindu Sagar Reddy won the election with 60.53% of the vote to 30.50% for Jyotsana (Ela) Pandya.  Dr. Kiran Sandhu was on the ballot but had pulled out of the race.

In Zone 2, with 80% of the precincts reporting, incumbent Dr. Gaurang Pandya, Ela’s husband, was ahead of challenger Dr. Kuldeep Jagpal 74.48% to 25.52%

Zone 4 could experience an upset with Physicians Assitant Liberty Lomeli ahead of Incumbent Dr. Rakesh Jindal. With 90% of the precincts reporting Lomeli has 35.79%, Jindal has 33.84%, and Victoria Porter with 30.38%.

VUSD Areas 5 & 7 Gets New Reps

At least two new trustees–and perhaps a third–will join the Visalia Unified School District’s Governing Board.

With a clear margin of victory, Megan Casebeer-Soleno has edged out incumbent Neissen Foster in Area 5. Casebeer-Soleno, a deputy Tulare County district attorney, garnered 55.65% of the ballot with 2,978 votes to Foster’s 2,373 votes (44.35%). Foster is a postal worker.

In the Area 7 race, VUSD administrator Jacquie Gaebe won with a plurality of votes 2,476 or 40.07%. Her nearest opponent was Nora Allstedt with 1,404 (22.72%). Colijia Feliz took 1,052 votes (17.03%), Randy Evans had 802 votes (12.98%) and James Reynolds had 445 (7.20%).

VUSD Area 6 Is Close They Come

Even with all precincts reporting, the Area 6 race between incumbent Dr. Lucia Vázquez and challenger Christopher Pope is a virtual tie, with Pope leading by 34 votes. Vázquez took 1,203 votes (49.30%) and Pope has 1,237 (50.70%).

A recount seems likely, but there is no provision for automatic recounts under the California election law.

Tulare City School Incumbents Stay

At the Tulare City School District, incumbents Daniel Enriquez (Area 2) and Teresa Garcia (Area 5) both retained their seats on the governing board.

Enriquez took 1,924 votes (62.55%) against challenger Brian Spencer with 1,152 votes (37.45%). Garcia took 605 votes (50.88%) to challenger Connie Diaz’s 584 votes (49.12%).

Upset in Hanford City Council

In an upset, Hanford City Council member and former mayor Sue Sorensen lost her seat to challenger Kalish Morrow. This was Morrow’s second run for Hanford city council. With 100% of the precincts reporting Morrow won 43.79% of the vote to 31.62 for Sorensen. Jacob Sanchez came in third with 24.59%.

Catherine Doe contributed to this article

19 thoughts on “Local Election Results Reveal Upsets and Surprises

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  1. Glad to hear that all the drama has been voted off of the Tulare City Council. It has been a long time coming! Let’s hope they are graceful in their exits.

  2. So what happens now? Does Ela Pandya return the house that she bought in zone 1 just for the election or…?

    Probably not…probably what happens is they will stick Tejal Pandya in that house and plot to take over the board next time… they’ll probably toss a couple more benches in the parks and pay for more family ads in the Recorder and this newspaper.

    • Funny how those are districts, more complex than the county, and maybe not decided by press time. Next time, if you want to stay up all night, if you have nothing awaiting you in the morning, contact us and you can report on those I live time.

    • We did mention the Assembly and Congressional races in the first line of the article. They were too close to call.

      • So…will you be writing more ads for Pandyas in the future, Catherine Doe?

        Pretty lucrative I imagine…

        • Avid Propaganda Commenter perhaps you don’t know understand the dynamics of paid advertisement. Perhaps you don’t understand about running a business. Perhaps you should make an effort to educate yourself before you opine.

          • The “dynamics of paid advertisement” is also what separates real, impartial journalism from…what I see around here. Also, “use your real name” is proxy for “hm, I’ve got nothing.” Welcome to the internet, boomer. All you need to address are ideas, not people.

            Your writers are chiming in on comment threads, blatantly trying to tip scales for pandyas. Perhaps the problem with the media is that the “running a business” mentality has overshadowed the “journalistic integrity” mentality. Your answer betrays it. Nice attempt at condescension though!

  3. RE: Naive person who just doesn’t understand whats painfully obvious says ……show he/she knows really nothing. ALL newspapers are a business first and foremost because without revenue they can’t go to press. No revenue, no publication, no place for naive people like you to publicly post your comments. DUH! 🙂

    • Sure, Barbara, everyone understands that trivial observation. Great point! But what does it say about your newspaper if the “journalists” are blatantly opining *for* or *against* individuals involved in the election. How impartial does it look? At the very least, have someone else write the article, not the person who wrote a full page ad for one of the candidates LOL. This is not rocket science, Barbara. You’re not addressing the core issue.

      • Hey Dude or Dudette, whichever may apply, ever hear about Editorial Pages? Ever hear about “Opinion Pages? Ever took notice of the many major newspapers that often endorse a candidate on their Editorial Page? It’s not rocket science……easy to find…..do some research, educate yourself. I am not concerned if the Editor of the Valley Voice makes an endorsement. This is done all the time. It would be nice if I agreed with that endorsement but it isn’t a deal breaker if I disagreed. Endorsements aren’t actual news, they are just opinions. Just like you are doing now….. blatantly opining against this newspaper, its your opinion not hard core actual news.

      • Say what you will, but I would rather a news outlet wear its editorial positions on its sleeve- and make no bones about it- than the feigned objectivity, pretend ‘view from nowhere’ that we get from most large corporate media.

        When someone is honest about what their point of view really is, one can more adequately get a read on their perspective and come to their own conclusions.

        My 2¢

      • That’s all well and good, but I don’t seem to see the word “Editorial” or “Opinion” on the following page, do you Barbara? Nor do I see any language stating clearly that the author previously wrote an ad for one of the candidates’ family. Again, not addressing the main point — subtly mixing editorial/opinion/ad side of things with the journalism/reporting side.


        And oh look! The author in the comments sneakily chiming in.

        John, I mostly (I think?) agree with you about large corporate media, which is why I’m commenting on this.

        This is not your slightly confusing “blatant healthy bias.” This is subtle slimy stuff — I only noticed after I read the comment thread and then followed crumbs.

        Simple question: What’s the harm in having someone write about that election who did not previously write an ad for one of the parties? Both of you: please address that easy question. What’s there to lose? I mean, seriously, this is a no-brainer.

        • I am the author of the Sierra View election articles and always use my real full name when making a comment and never “sneak” them in. I have never “written an ad” for the Pandyas and the paper did not endorse any candidate, nor did we care who won.

  4. This is interesting information. I may not know a lot about how elections go, but I can do math. So according to the post election night results Mr. Jones was only 47 votes behind with about 2,000 more votes to be counted. Congratulating his opponent is very premature, and let’s say Mr. Jones pulls out a win. What kind of unhealthy climate and culture are we creating by saying council is better off without him, and coming from our Mayor is quite unacceptable. For the sake of community our personal thoughts about a person should be kept to yourself. There should always be a level of respect towards one another because of positions city officials hold. I am an educator and this reminds me of a situation I would have to deal with among children.

  5. Re Dr. Goree…level of respect?? Tell that to Jones! He is the epitimy of creating an unhealthy climate. He never keeps his personal thoughts to himself. And hell yes council is better off without him…he actually sued the city he’s a council member for!!! Respect is earned..

  6. Carlton is what cost 250,000.00 for taking his personal fight against the Good Chief Of Police Wes Hensly. Carlton is a embarrassment to the city and his family

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