San Joaquin County Races and Faces

Traffic signs are in effect and election season has begun: the June 7 primary election is a chance to thin the herd and, in some cases, elect a representative upfront. Here are the local races and faces that will be on the ballot.

Stockton City Council

Three seats are up for grabs on Stockton City Council and will be on the ballot in the June 7 primary. Candidates will need a majority of votes or 50% plus one vote to be elected outright. Otherwise, the top two voters from each district will advance to the November general election.

Outgoing District 1 Council member Sol Jobrack is seeking re-election. Prior to his election to District 1 headquarters, Jobrack served as Stockton’s Planning Commissioner for four years. Social worker Felix Ogbah and educator Michele Padilla will also run for the District 1 seat.

In District 3, incumbent Councilor Paul Canepa reached the two-term limit, opening up the seat to three new candidates. Business owner Michael Blower, businessman and engineer Shoua Lo and Bridget Hawley-Ortiz will run for the Stockton City Council District 3 seat.

Elected in 2014 after serving eight years as Stockton’s planning commissioner, Vice Mayor Christina Fugazi is also stepping down from her District 5 seat. Jewelian Johnson, a student at San Joaquin Delta College and UC Berkeley and a member of the Reinvent South Stockton Coalition, will take on current Stockton Planning Commissioner Brando Villapudua — brother of State Assemblyman Carlos Villapudua — for the opening of District 5.

San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors

The San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors — elected officials tasked with making decisions at the county level — has two openings in the June 7 ballot.

The District 2 race will welcome a group of familiar faces with supervisor Kathy Miller. Current Stockton City Councilman Paul Canepa, business owner Dino Ballin, county facility maintenance supervisor Bill Smith and retired criminal investigator Elbert Holman Jr. will all be in the running for headquarters.

Current board chair and retired CHP officer Chuck Winn has reached his term limit, and six candidates will campaign for the District 4 seat. Former San Joaquin County Sheriff Steve Moore, l Lodi Elementary School teacher Nancy G. St. Clair, retired probation officer Paul Brennan, current Lodi City Council member Doug Kuehne, restaurant owner Steve Ding and owner of the Steve Colangelo’s business will all be on the ballot.

Absentee ballots must be postmarked by June 7 and received by the county registrar of voters within three days of the election.  The county has 19 certified drop box locations, but voters can also simply stick their ballot in the mailbox.

San Joaquin County Sheriff

The San Joaquin County Sheriff, an elected official, has three primary duties: maintaining public order, attending court, and operating the county jail. The sheriff wields considerable — but not absolute — power, and current San Joaquin County Sheriff Patrick Withrow will not oppose this election cycle.

San Joaquin County District Attorney

The district attorney represents the people of San Joaquin County in superior court. When a person is charged with committing a crime, the DA has the sole authority to decide whether criminal charges will be filed and the seriousness of those charges. The DA is also responsible for holding police officers accountable, including the sheriff’s department.

Tori Verber Salazar is the San Joaquin County District Attorney, elected in 2014 and again in 2018. One of his staff, Assistant District Attorney Ron Frietas, will challenge Verber Salazar.

San Joaquin County Schools Superintendent

The county superintendent of schools is an elected position that serves as an intermediary between school districts and the California Department of Education.

Troy Brown, who was chosen to replace recently retired Superintendent James A. Mousalimas, will be challenged by Brian Biedermann. Last year, Biedermann resigned as acting district superintendent of Stockton Unified School five months before his contract expired, citing personal health reasons and wanting to spend more time with his family.

San Joaquin County Auditor-Comptroller

The county auditor-comptroller is responsible for financial reporting and audits of certain county agencies.

Last year, former San Joaquin County Auditor-Comptroller Jay Wilverding was selected by the Board of Supervisors by a 3-2 vote to permanently assume the role of county administrator, a position of Staff.

San Joaquin County Acting Auditor-Comptroller Jeffery Woltkamp will ask voters to elect him to a full term. Accountant Shannon Esenwein will also run for the seat.

Those who miss the May 23 deadline to register to vote can still do so through conditional voter registration — essentially no different from registering to vote by the deadline — at the county Registrar of Voter's office or at a polling station on election day.

Superior Court Judge

Although four San Joaquin County Superior Court benches are up for grabs, only Office No. 4 has more than one nominee. Superior Court Commissioner Jonathan Fattarsi will run against Attorney Lou Tovar for the bench in Office No. 4.

California State Assembly

San Joaquin County is currently divided among three Assembly Districts. Last year, the California Citizens Redistricting Commission redrawn the maps to divide the county into two districts — District 9 and District 13 — a preference for most San Joaquin County residents surveyed.

Heath Flora, who currently serves State Assembly District 12, is the lone candidate for the newly drawn District 9, which dips into part of Flora’s current constituency.

Three Democrats will race to represent Stockton and Tracy in District 13, territory largely unchanged by redistricting. Assemblyman Carlos Villapudua, who currently represents District 13, will run to retain his seat in the state Assembly. Tracy Vice Mayor Veronica Vargas and Tracy City Council Member Mateo Bedolla will both challenge Villapudua.

United States Congress

The California Citizens Redistricting Commission placed almost all of San Joaquin County in Congressional District 9. A multitude of candidates will occupy part of the June 7 ballot:

Democratic Rep. Josh Harder, a native of Turlock, a Stanford graduate who represents part of San Joaquin County in the 10th congressional district, will run in the new 9th congressional district. San Joaquin County Supervisor Tom Patti runs on the Republican ticket to jump from the county dais in Washington, DC

Labor organizer and Harpreet Singh Chima, Karena Apple Feng, Khalid Jeffrey Jafri — a registered Democrat who got a handful of write-in votes for State Assembly as a Republican in 2020 — litigator and business owner Jonathan Madison, business owner Jim Shoemaker and business owner Mark Andrews will all be on the June 7 ballot for the 9th congressional district.

Five candidates will run for the 13th congressional district, which scrapes the southernmost part of San Joaquin County in Lathrop.

Madera teacher and business owner David Giglio, Fresno business owner Phil Arballo, Assemblyman Adam Gray, Modesto farmer John Duarte and bond officer Diego Martinez will all show up to represent the 13th congressional district.

Record reporter Ben Irwin covers Stockton and San Joaquin county government. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @B1rwin. Support local news, subscribe to The Stockton Record at https://www.recordnet.com/subscribenow.

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