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Channce Condit hitting campaign trail despite no foe
• Lone candidate for Ceres City Council District #1
Channce Condit1.jpg
Channce Condit is unopposed for the Ceres City Council District #1 seat occupied by Ken Lane. Despite no opposition he is still knocking on doors and posting campaign signs. - photo by Jeff Benziger

Not in recent memory has a Ceres council candidate appeared on the ballot unopposed.

But that alone doesn’t make the candidacy of 29-year-old Channce Condit unusual. Consider that the soon-to-be Councilman Condit has:

• Become the third generation of Condits to enter local politics;

• An uncontested path to a City Council seat as the direct result of the implementation of district elections;

• Not followed the typical path toward the council by way of  the Ceres Planning Commission;

• Worked as a professional model and had minor roles in some movies.

The Ceres Courier sat down with Condit on Monday to gain a better understanding of Channce Condit and what type of councilman he expected to become after the Nov. 6 election is over.

“I’ve been watching the City Council meetings online for a year straight and I’ve tried to do as much homework as possible,” said Condit, who is running unopposed in District 1 to take the seat of Ken Lane, who is retiring from council service. “I want to increase the quality of life for our residents here in Ceres.”

Condit, who is employed as a field representative for state Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced), said he and his recent bride Lauren plan to stay in Ceres to raise a family.

“I think there’s room for improvement. I think we are headed in the right direction, for instance with hiring three new police officers. I think that’s great. My main focus is going to be public safety, specifically with law enforcement. I would love Ceres to be the safest city in Stanislaus County. I think that should be our objective.”

Condit favors hiring more patrol officers but did not say how the city could finance them.

“I know public safety is 80 percent of our (General Fund) but we need to prioritize on how we spend our money.”

Condit said the city needs to beef up code enforcement.

“Are we going to pay city administrators a certain amount each month or do we want more patrol men or code enforcement officers? It comes down to priority and I really do believe that’s a conversation that needs to be had by the council.”

Condit, son of politically-connected Chad and Helen Condit and grandson of former Congressman Gary Condit, said he doesn’t necessarily want to change the council’s priorities but does want to strive for more patrol officers. He said becoming known as the safest city locally would help attract new business to compete with Modesto and Turlock.

Condit said he will not support any additional marijuana dispensaries without a majority of that tax revenue “solely guaranteed towards public safety.”

“And that would help us so we’re not in a budgetary crisis each year with our fire department and so we wouldn’t be at risk of closing down fire stations.”

When asked if he supports Measure W – the Ceres measure to impose a business license tax of up to 15 percent of gross receipts on cannabis businesses should courts strike down developer agreements the city has with three cannabis businesses in Ceres – Condit appeared unfamiliar and said he would “have to do more research on it.”

He expressed certainty that Ceres needs to broaden its offering of local businesses.

“The state of California is pretty burdensome on business owners with taxes and regulations,” said Condit. “I think if there’s a tax locally or a regulation locally that we can cut for a small business owner … we should cut it. We need to be a more business friendly city and that would give us leverage over our neighbors to the north and neighbors to the south.”

Condit said he decided he wanted to run over a year ago when the council terms of Linda Ryno and Lane were originally scheduled to end. The council lengthened those terms to expire this year to alignment the local elections with the gubernatorial election as mandated by state law. He expected an opponent and began gearing up for a run. Despite no opponent, Condit said he’s still walking precincts to introduce himself to voters and get the pulse of the community on local concerns.

Channce attended Carroll Fowler and Virginia Parks elementary schools and Modesto Christian School before his parents left Ceres for Arizona after Rep. Condit lost the congressional race to Dennis Cardoza in 2002. He said he enjoyed his years in Arizona where he graduated from St. Mary’s Catholic High School in Phoenix in 2008. While attending Paradise Valley Community College he met his future bride in a drama production. After his return to Ceres, Channce earned his associate degree from Merced Junior College and in June graduated from Stanislaus State University with a degree in history.

In addition to modeling some, Condit worked a brief stint as a background extra in some movies, including “Contagion” shot in 2011 in San Francisco.

“I never thought we’d end up back in Ceres to be honest with you. I really didn’t but it was always a dream of mine.”

For two years the Condits have owned and operated Olson’s Pro Cleaning which provides cleaning services to clean model homes for KB Homes.

Condit has been active in the Ceres community. He has emceed for the Ceres Street Faire Parade, helped with Love Ceres, served at the recent Celebrity Waiter Night for the Ceres water tower preservation effort, served on the Centennial Committee and he served as a co-chairman of a red maple tree planting campaign two years ago. He belongs to the Ceres Lions Club, Ceres Garden Club and the Ceres Historical Society. He also coaches basketball for the Ceres Hoopsters rec league.

“I’m committed about public service. More than anything I’m passionate about helping people and trying to make a difference in people’s lives.”

A registered Democrat, Condit said he hasn’t ruled out pursuit of higher office. His grandfather, after all, went from Ceres City Council to Congress in 17 years.

“I haven’t thought about it but I haven’t ruled it out. I just want to focus on being the best councilmember I can be for Ceres. At the end of the day doors might open up in the future but I’m always going to live in Ceres and I want to make Ceres the best community it could possibly be.”