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Councilman upset by 32 votes
Incumbent Ceres City Councilman Guillermo Ochoa lost his bid for re-election last week when challenger Mike Kline surpassed him by 32 votes.

With all of Ceres' 24 precincts reported, Kline, a member of the Ceres Planning Commission, had collected 1,310 votes to surpass Ochoa, who rounded up 1,278 votes.

Ochoa said he likely will not contest the final results unless the vote gap dwindles to 10 or less.

Any recount would have to be paid for by the one contesting the results.

Stanislaus County Clerk-Recorder Lee Lundrigan doubted that yet-to-be counted provisional ballots would change the outcome.

"It doesn't look likely," said Lundrigan on Monday. "I would not consider 32 votes close when we have some elections that are tied. Honestly, we have a zero percent error rate. We are very cautious with the count."

The county expects to produce official results by the end of the week but law requires certification by Nov. 21.

The result left Ochoa disappointed.

"I could still kick myself for thinking since I was the incumbent and did great things that the voters wouldn't forget that," he said. "Someone told me the average citizen only remembers two months back. I could have done a better job getting my message out and spent more money."

Bret Durossette, another City Council incumbent, handily won re-election for a four-year term with the highest vote count of 1,553. Durossette is a teacher and coach at Ceres High School.

Defeated was first-time office seeker Daniel Padilla, who received 1,208 votes for the four-year City Council seat.

Filling the vacant seat on the City Council with two years remaining will be Eric Ingwerson, a real estate agent and former mayor. Ingwerson handily won with 1,225 votes, or 38.37 percent, defeating Linda Ryno (1,078 votes, or 33.76 percent) and Hugo D. Molina who collected 879 votes, or 27.53 percent.

Ceres Mayor Chris Vierra, who was unopposed in the election, collected 2,744 votes. A total of 101 voters didn't like the choice and offered names of write-in candidates.

Kline ran on a "Hire Ceres First " platform and creating jobs in Ceres. He said as a councilman he will ask Ceres businesses and city contractors to consider hiring Ceres residents first. Kline also wants to see the city help residents in becoming better prepared to compete in the job market.

"How many people know how to write resumes? I don't," said Kline. "We can also teach interview and job seeking skills."

Kline didn't see his victory as a message against any incumbent but felt people were pleased that he was accessible during the campaign. Kline was pleased that the campaign had a positive tone, a thought not shared by Ochoa. Ochoa attributed his defeat to Padilla splitting the Latino vote and what he termed dirty campaigning.

"Unfortunately he (Padilla) was going around telling the Hispanic voters that I was a Republican and he was a Democrat," said Ochoa, "and unfortunately Latinos are very gullible."

Ochoa is a registered Republican but stated Padilla's last vote was made as a registered Republican before switching parties.

"To me, that's a dirty trick," said Ochoa.

Padilla only voted three times in the last 21 elections, he added.

"I'm sorry Ochoa feels that way," responded Padilla. "It's not a personal thing." He added that he has "always been a Democrat."

"I am very grateful that the amount of people who voted for me, first time running," said Padilla. "I'm from the lower middle class and a working class citizen."

Ochoa said he enjoyed being a connection between the Latino community and the city.

"I serve as a representative of the Latino community. But I have a lot of faith that the City Council will continue meeting the needs of the Latino community.

"I have no regrets. I learned a lot in my six years there and made a lot of friends."

Ochoa had been appointed to the Ceres City Council in December 2005 to fill an seat vacated by Anthony Cannella, who then was elevated to mayor. Ochoa ran for and won re-election four years ago.

Incumbent City Treasurer Harry Herbert was unopposed in Tuesday's election and received 2,671 votes, or 97.91 percent. A total of 57 voters wrote in other names.

Teresa Guerrero won back a seat on the Ceres Unified School District board of trustees. Guerrero was defeated for re-election two years ago. With complete returns from all 37 precincts within CUSD, Guerrero was top vote-getter with 1,974 votes, or 54.5 percent, over Brian Kline, who picked up 1,620 votes, or 44.73 percent.

Also returning to the School Board are uncontested trustees Jim Kinard and Faye Lane. Their names did not appear on the ballot since they had no opposition.

In the Keyes Union School District, Tammy L. Suarez was victorious with 171 votes, or 38.45 percent, as well as Bob Edwards, who had 145 votes, or 32.58 percent. Defeated was Carlos Jimenez who amassed 127 votes, or 28.53 percent.

In the Keyes Community Services District, Casey Chadwick and Mike Bernal were the declared winners. Chadwick had collected 92 votes, or 30.46 percent, while Bernal picked up 94 votes, or 31.13 percent. Defeated were Roberto Jimenez (71 votes, or 23.51 percent) and William Alexander (45 votes, or 14.9 percent).

In Turlock Irrigation District Division 1, incumbent director Michael Frantz of Hickman was re-election over Christopher Barth of Hughson. Frantz earned 3,651 votes (73.77 percent) to Barth's 1,269 (25.64 percent).