Local Politics

Monday, May 05 2014 04:34 PM

Election notebook: Assessor candidates pick up, lose big endorsements

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    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Jon Lifquist, left, and his son Calvin put up a campaign sign on the Kern Canyon Road Wednesday morning. Lifquist is a candidate for Assessor-Recorder.

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    By Rod Thornburg / Special to The Californian

    Assessor-Recorder candidate Russell Johnson meets with supporters to pass out campaign materials and create a game plan on how they can help him walk precincts to support his campaign for Assessor-Recorder.

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By The Bakersfield Californian

Two candidates for Kern County assessor announced some big-name endorsements Monday — but then one lost one.

Jon Lifquist, chief appraiser in the Assessor’s office, announced the backing of, among others, Congressmen Kevin McCarthy and Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, both Bakersfield Republicans; Kern County Supervisors Zack Scrivner and Mick Gleason; retiring Assessor-Recorder Jim Fitch; Bakersfield City Councilmembers Ken Weir and Jacquie Sullivan; Kern Community College District Trustee Pauline Larwood; and Panama-Buena Vista District Trustee Dean Haddock.

“Kern County’s property assessment process will be in safe and dependable hands with Jon Lifquist as assessor,” McCarthy said in a news release.

“This is not a job for a novice with a political appetite,” he also said. “It’s like someone wanting to be appointed judge and promising he will start law school soon.”

McCarthy was referring to assessor candidate Russell Johnson, a Bakersfield councilman who has no formal experience appraising property. Johnson has said he’d obtain the necessary credentials and that what the Assessor’s office really needs is better leadership.

Later in the day, Johnson announced the endorsement of Congressman David Valadao, R-Hanford.

“He has a track record on the City Council of putting the taxpayers first,” Valadao said in a written statement. “As assessor, he will ensure that fighting for the taxpayer is the top priority of the office.”

Valadao did make that endorsement — several days ago, his chief of staff, Tal Eslick said Monday evening. But then Valadao learned that Johnson was running against another Republican, Eslick said, and decided Monday to withdraw the endorsement and stay neutral.

The Assessor’s race is technically non-partisan.

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