Local Politics

Wednesday, Nov 07 2012 05:13 PM

Numbers change little in three big local races

  1. 1 of 3

    By Shelby Mack / The Californian

    In this file photo, Mick Gleason, then-candidate for 1st District Kern County supervisor, greets Kat Gardner at Chatterbox Cafe in Wofford Heights. Gleason won the seat.

    click to expand click to collapse
  2. 2 of 3

    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Terry Maxwell, candidate for Ward 2 Bakersfield City Council, hugs Shannon Grove at the Downtowner Expo Event Center at the Kern County Republican Party election night event.

    click to expand click to collapse
  3. 3 of 3

    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    David Valadao, 21st Congressional District candidate, shakes hands with volunteer Brie White, right, at his campaign headquarters in Bakersfield Tuesday evening before heading off to Hanford. Valadao stopped in here to thank the volunteers working on his campaign phone banks.

    click to expand click to collapse
BY REBECCA KHEEL Californian staff writer rkheel@bakersfield.com

Election trends from Tuesday night held into Wednesday in the races for Bakersfield City Council Ward 2, Kern County 1st District supervisor and the 21st Congressional District.

Though all precincts were at least partially reporting by Wednesday, some 50,000 vote-by-mail and provisional ballots had yet to be counted in Kern County, so the election tallies could continue to shift.

County elections officials said they'd have new numbers Monday.

In the Ward 2 race, Terry Maxwell, a local restauranteur, was on top with 45.6 percent of the vote. Bakersfield Planning Commissioner Elliott Kirschenmann had 43 percent and David Mensch, who helps the disabled use assistive technology, had gotten 10.9 percent.

Kirschenmann was not giving up on his chances of winning Wednesday. He said 40 percent of the ballots in Ward 2 were absentee ballots and they could change the outcome.

"I want to make sure every vote is counted," he said.

Kirschenmann called Maxwell on Wednesday to congratulate him on his lead and a hard-fought race. But, Kirschenmann stressed, he did not concede.

Kirschenmann said he campaigned the hardest he could and is not sure what he could have done differently to secure victory.

"I shook hands with as many voters as I physically could in the time I had," he said.

On Wednesday, Maxwell was already planning for victory. He said he appreciated Kirschenmann's call and asked him to stay involved in local government.

Maxwell said he thinks the fact he is not a politician and not afraid to take a stance on issues is what gave him his lead. For example, he opposes the 24th Street widening plan.

But, Maxwell said, he's not sure that particular stance will win him the race because public opinion on the plan is so divided. And that's not why he took it, either, he added.

"I took that position because that's the way I truly feel," he said.

Maxwell said he has a few items he'd like to tackle first, such as seeing to a better relationship between the public and Bakersfield Police Department. He also wants to remove the two stop signs at the Costco on Rosedale Highway to improve traffic flow.

"Those are the idiot items you see in town that make you think, 'Why is that done that way?'" he said.

He also said he wants to work to alleviate the homeless problem downtown, and thus revitalize the area.

 

1ST DISTRICT

In the 1st District supervisor race, U.S. Navy aviator Mick Gleason won with 59.671 percent, or 19,587 votes. Roy Ashburn, a veteran lawmaker, got 40 percent, or 13,150 votes.

Ashburn said Wednesday that, for now, Kern County wasn't ready to elect him to office. But he said he was honored by the support he received from major community leaders and the work he put into the run.

"I'm very proud of the campaign," Ashburn said. "The people wanted to do something different and I respect that."

Ashburn said, looking back on the contest, he can't think of any effort he didn't make to win. He has no regrets about "could haves."

He will continue at his job on the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board, he said.

As the race wrapped up, Gleason reflected on his year of campaigning. He recalled a phone conversation he had with Ashburn right after he entered the race where Ashburn gave him tips on campaigning.

On Wednesday, the race ended symmetrically, Gleason said, as he and Ashburn had a gracious conversation where they congratulated each other on a race well-run.

The day after the race, Gleason said he is resting and taking care of his wife. He is also pulling up signs he placed around the district, which he said has made his hands "all blistered and raw."

Once his term starts, Gleason said the first thing he plans on doing is scheduling more meetings between himself and the various city councils in his district.

"I am going to aggressively represent the people of my district," he said.

 

21ST CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

For the 21st Congressional District, Republican David Valadao held his lead with 59.9 percent of the vote, or 49,205 votes. Democrat John Hernandez was at 40.1 percent, or 32,967 votes.

Cristobal Slobodzian, Hernandez’ campaign manager, said Wednesday night that Hernandez had conceded defeat. Slobodzian said the campaign had hoped more Democrats would come out to support Hernandez. But in the end, the Hernandez campaign could not compete with Valadao’s campaign coffers and mailers that aimed to deceive voters, Slobodzian said.

“We ran a hard campaign,” he said. “We literally knocked on thousands and thousands and thousands of doors of targeted voters.”

On Wednesday afternoon, Valadao was already looking ahead to what he is going to do in Congress come the start of the term. Valadao said he plans to start his term by focusing on the economy. Specifically, he said he wants to try to lower costs to try to attract businesses to the district. He also said he is looking to join the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.

“I want to say thank you the voters,” Valadao said. “I want to say thank you to all the constituents of the 21st and all those who came out to vote.”

-- Californian staff writer James Burger contributed to this report

Have something to share? Comment on this story

Bakersfield.com Daily Deal!

The Mark

Daily Deal

$30 of delicious food for $15 from The Mark

Value
$30
% Off
50%
You Save
$15
8 Bought
Buy Now! See more deals