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Candidate season starts Wednesday

The candidate filing period for those seeking local office on the Nov. 3 ballot opens Monday, July 13.

On Nov. 3 Ceres voters will be asked to elect a mayor, two councilmembers, a county supervisor, a District 10 congressman and a president – and decide on a number of statewide propositions. A host of other races, such as seats on the Hughson City Council, are up for grabs as well.

Those planning to run for any of these and other local offices will have to get their nomination papers filled out and returned by August 7. However, if an incumbent in any given race does not file for re-election, the nomination period will be extended until Wednesday, Aug. 12.

Ceres City Council candidates must be a registered voter residing within their respective council districts. Prospective candidates should consult a map of council districts to determine which district they live in before pondering a jump into city politics. Candidates must obtain and fill out nomination papers with the signatures of between 20 and 30 signatures of registered voters living within their district. Candidates are advised to get more than 20 signatures in case a “nominator” turns out to not be a registered voter. The city clerk handles nomination papers for city offices.

Mayor Chris Vierra won’t be seeking re-election which opens the door to candidacies from within the council and Ceres residents at large. Councilman Bret Durossette has been planning to run for the office but could face competition within the community. Others on the council are not expected to seek the mayor’s seat; Vice Mayor Linda Ryno has ruled out a run, Councilman Mike Kline said he’s seek re-election to his council seat and Councilman Channce Condit is running for county supervisor.

Two Ceres City Council seats are also up for grabs in November. Kline’s District 4 seat and Durossette’s District 3 seat are expiring at the end of the year. Since Durossette is running for mayor, his council seat is expected to draw interest from those living in his district, which covers northeast Ceres, including areas east of Moffet Road as well as Eastgate. Soroptimist member and downtown business owner Brandy Meyer has expressed interest in running for the District 3 seat.

Durossette was appointed to the City Council in 2008 after the death of Rob Phipps. He has been employed as a Ceres High School teacher for 25 years and coaching for 29 years. 

Kline represents Council District 4, which includes a block around Smyrna Park southward to Highway 99 and leaping across the freeway. The zigzagging district lines include some areas of southwest Ceres, including Marazzi Lane, Sungate Drive, Bavil Drive, Hardy Court, Bing Lane and Daisy Tree.

This will be the second time in the history of Ceres that voters will be electing councilmembers on the basis of districts rather than the entire city limits. That means only persons living in Council Districts 3 and 4 may run and vote for City Council on Nov. 6; the remainder must wait for their district seat to come open for a run. Only the office of mayor continues to be elected on an at-large basis. The office of vice-mayor is typically appointed among the councilmembers on a one- to two-year rotation.

Voters in Hughson will be electing a mayor and two council members. They will also decide on two trustee seats for the Hughson Unified School District – Trustee Area 1 and 3.

Two seats will open on the board of directors for the rural Ceres Fire Protection District which neighbors the city limits.

Keyes Union School District voters in Trustee Area 1 and 4 will also be electing representatives and the Keyes Municipal Advisory Council (MAC) will have three seats on open. The Keyes MAC serves as an advisory panel to the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors.

The South Modesto MAC has two seats open.

Three seats are open on the Riverdale Park Community Services District board and two seats on the rural Monterey Park Tract board.

Also up for grabs are three four-year terms and one two-year seat on the Westport Fire Protection District Board.

Supervisorial District 5 voters will decide on who fills Jim DeMartini’s seat when he steps down at the end of the year. Candidates are Ceres City Councilman Channce Condit and Ceres City Attorney Tom Hallinan. Mike Kline was bumped out of the race in the March primary.

Hallinan, 58, jumped into the race after former state Senator Anthony Cannella announced that he wouldn’t run for the District 5 supervisor seat. Hallinan has served terms on the Yosemite Community College District board of trustees and was a candidate for the state Board of Equalization in 2018. In 2017 the Ceres resident was elected chairman of the California Law Revision Commission, a state agency responsible for studying problem areas in California law and recommending reforms to the governor and Legislature. Hallinan was appointed to the commission in 2015 by Gov. Jerry Brown. He received his Juris Doctorate degree from the Lincoln Law School in Sacramento and is now a partner with Churchwell White LLP. Hallinan has served as city/special district attorney for a dozen of local governmental agencies over the past 22 years. Hallinan said if elected he will resign from the law firm of Chuchwell White which provides legal services to the cities of Ceres, Patterson and Newman.

Hallinan has been endorsed by former Ceres Mayor and state Assemblyman Sal Cannella, Sheriff Jeff Dirkse, and Ceres Mayor Chris Vierra and the mayors of Patterson and Newman.

Jumping into the race late was Condit, who was sworn in as a freshman councilman in November 2018. If elected to the county board, Condit would be leaving office midway through a four-year term. Condit claims he had no intention of running but changed his mind when Cannella decided not to run.

“I felt that we needed a strong voice for District 5 and I believe I can provide it,” said Condit.