As the last ballots are being cast, candidates are settling down for their watch parties.
The following are some of the most contested races in Tulare and Kings County.
The most highly anticipated race in the South Valley is the race for Kings County District Attorney (DA). Valley Voice stats indicate the race is not only of keen interest here but throughout the state.
Kings County District Attorney challenger Sarah Hacker’s watch party has turned into an intimate affair of 80 people.
“We were going to have a small group of supporters, and it blew up,” Hacker said as bottles clinked in her shopping cart while preparing for the party.
The gathering is being held at a private home.
“The campaign was a lot of fun. I met a lot of nice people along the way. I’m kind of sad it is over,” she said. “It was serendipitous how so many people and events came together during my campaign. There was so much interest in this race.”
Other races Hacker is following is the Kings County Board of Supervisor (BOS) District 4 which is an open seat. The incumbent, Craig Pedersen, decided not to run again after two terms and has endorsed Rusty Robinson. Alicia Ramirez is his challenger.
“It’s important to me to know who is going to be on my board,” said Hacker.
Kings County District Attorney Keith Fagundes is having a private evening at home with friends and family. He will also be keeping an eye on the two supervisor races.
Kings County Supervisor District 1 is also on the ballot but incumbent Joe Neves has been on the board since 1995. It is highly unlikely he will lose his seat to challenger Martin Chavez.
“The races for supervisor stuck to business like it should be and ran their campaigns without all the negativity,” said Fagundes.
The winners of Kings County DA and BOS will be decided during the primary and will not go on to the general election.
Tulare County Board of Supervisors District 4
The other highly anticipated race is for Tulare County Board of Supervisor District 4 where incumbent Eddie Valero is facing 3 challengers.
He is the only candidate contacted by the Voice who is having an open watch party starting at 6:30 at Me and Martha’s Restaurant, 505 E Tulare Street, Dinuba.
His challengers, Kelly Culver and Scott Harness, are having private watch parties at home.
The top two vote getters will proceed to the general election in November unless one candidate receives 50% of the vote.
In terms of other races, Culver wished that the Republican Party had coalesced their support behind one candidate for governor to challenge Governor Gavin Newsom.
“I have five candidates that I like for governor and am still deciding who to vote for.”
Culver has made up her mind though for California Secretary of State and wished the local press had done more coverage of that race.
Rachel Hamm is a Central Valley local, born and raised in Clovis, and is one of seven candidates for secretary of state. Hamm has to beat out three other Republican challengers in order to make it into the general election.
Hamm has been endorsed by General Mike Flynn who emphasized her commitment to election security in a video on her website.
Former Congressional District 22
If you want to have a drink while watching the returns go to Connie Conway’s party at the Tulare Golf Club – but don’t say you read it here.
Conway is having a private party with family and friends starting at 8:00pm.
She is running to finish out Representative Devin Nunes’ term in Congress under the old Congressional District 22.
Her challenger is little known Democrat, Lourin Hubbard, who doesn’t respond to inquiries through his website or answer his phone, and has a negligible chance of beating this seasoned legislator.
Conway stressed that this is not a victory party.
“I never county my chickens before they hatch,” she said.
Being a political junkie, there are more races she is following than we can list here but she said, “Congressional District 13 is an intriguing race because it is open and I know all the candidates.”
It’s also one of the few seats that Republicans can pick up in the November General Election.
CD13 is a newly drawn district left without an incumbent. It is comprised of Merced County and parts of Modesto and Turlock. The district would have voted for President Joe Biden in 2020 by a margin of 11%.but also would have voted to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2021, according to the Fresno Bee.
The candidates are Assemblyman Adam Gray and Phil Arballo both Democrats, and Republicans Diego Martinez, David Giglio and John Duarte.
Last but not least is the all important Measure U concerning Exeter and Farmersville cemeteries.
Exeter Woman of the Year 2021 and Republican Woman of the Year in 2019, Vicki Riddle, will be anxiously watching the results for Measure U that will ensure the future viability of Exeter Cemetery District.
The district is teetering on bankruptcy and will be out of business in four years without an infusion of funds.
Riddle is on the Exeter Cemetery District Board.
She said that the Farmersville City Council expeditiously put the issue on their agenda and invited the entire cemetery board to give a presentation. The council along with Farmersville Kiwanis Club “couldn’t have been more supportive,” said Riddle.
The same was not true for the Exeter City Council.
Despite repeated requests, Exeter City Council would not put a discussion about Measure U on their agenda. The cemetery board of trustees ended up going to three of their meetings and speaking during public comment.
County counsel advised the council members that they could endorse Measure U individually but not as a group.
That didn’t make much of a difference, Riddle said.
Only one city council member, David Hills, endorsed Measure U and even said they could put a yard sign up at his home.
But Exeter City Council member Steve Garber never committed one way or the other said Riddle.
“He always had more questions and needed to ‘take a good look at the language,’” said Riddle.
Garber will be Riddle’s opponent for the Exeter City Council race in November. Riddle already has the endorsement of former Exeter Mayor Robyn Stearns and Supervisor Larry Micari among others.
The other three council members never responded to Riddle’s request for their endorsement of Measure U.
“Its been very frustrating,” said Riddle
Watch this space
Preliminary results are expected around 8:00pm with three or four updates throughout the evening. Watch the Valley Voice website and Facebook page for updates and comments.
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Citizens get what they ask for if they re-elect Fagundes. With all the issues surrounding this DA it is undeniable he is a train wreck. To keep Fagundes as our Kings County DA will be a major problem for the county administrators, courts, Sheriff’s Office, etc. Citizens are praying that Hacker wins this important race.