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Councilmen, city attorney eye runs for county supervisor seat
• Candidacies of Condit, Hallinan and Kline could make things awkward at City Hall
Condit Hallinan and Kline
Gearing up for a run for District 5 Supervisor are (left to right), newcomer Ceres City Councilman Channce Condit, City Attorney Tom Hallinan and Ceres City Councilman Mike Kline. Condit and Hallinan are Democrats, Kline is a Republican.

The race for the District 5 Stanislaus County Supervisor seat could prove to be an awkward one.

Two members of the Ceres City Council and the city attorney have indicated they plan to run for the seat next year.

Councilman Mike Kline and Councilman Channce Condit have signaled their intent to seek the seat occupied by Jim DeMartini, along with Tom Hallinan, who is the city attorney for Ceres.

DeMartini has decided to retire from the board and won’t seek re-election in the March primary. After the announcement by former state Senator Anthony Cannella that he was abandoning plans to run for the county seat, Ceres City Attorney Tom Hallinan was the first to announce a candidacy.

Hallinan, 58, has served terms on the Yosemite Community College District board of trustees and was an unsuccessful candidate for the state Board of Equalization in 2018. He was defeated by incumbent Ted Gaines.

Hallinan said he is very familiar with issues facing Ceres and the county. He said his goals include reducing homelessness, protecting water rights, bringing the county and its nine cities together as well as fighting the state in its onerous demands on local governments.

If elected Hallinan said he would resign for his position with the law firm of Chuchwell White as it contracts with the cities of Ceres, Patterson and Newman for legal services.

Kline has served on the council for eight years and previously served on the Ceres Planning Commission.

Condit was elected to the City Council on Nov. 6 and is only nine months into a four-year term.

Kline pulled papers to run for office on Friday. On Sept. 25, Condit filed a State of Organization Recipient Committee Statement and Candidate Intention Statement with the Stanislaus County Clerk-Recorder office. 

The official period for candidates to file for the March 2020 primary runs from Nov. 11 to Dec. 6, with an extension to Dec. 11 if the incumbent fails to run for re-election.

Should no candidate in the March primary collect more than half of the votes, the top two candidates will move on to the November general election.

Besides most of Ceres, Supervisorial District 5 covers the west side where candidates could materialize from the communities of Newman and Patterson. 

Kline said it’s a good time for him to run since his second council term ended next year.

“I’m enjoying my time on the City Council learning things,” said Kline, who is a warehouse manager for Cost Less Foods. “I think the opportunity is right for me to move to another level. My term is up in November 2020.”

Kline, 61, wants to see accountability for the amount of money being spent by the county on homelessness. He also wants to improve ways to retain sheriff’s deputies “without breaking the bank.”

The Courier reached out to Condit for comment but he deferred questions until after his formal announcement.

During an October 2018 Courier interview, then candidate Condit stated that he had not “thought about (running for higher office) but haven’t ruled it out).” 

Ceres Mayor Chris Vierra was surprised to hear of Condit’s plans to seek office a year into his term.

“He’s a great kid, nice family but I’m supporting Tom Hallinan based upon what I know,” said Vierra. “I want somebody who has experience and I think eventually maybe Mr. Condit will get there but he’s only been on the council for not even a year and there’s still a lot to learn.”

The mayor added that Condit hasn’t been able to participate in labor negotiations since being on the council and only got his feet wet in budgeting “that warrant a need for experience.” 

Condit comes from a political family. His father, Chad Condit ran an unsuccessful campaign for Congress in 2012. His grandfather is former Congressman Gary Condit who lost his 2002 re-election bid following the scandal involving then missing intern Chandra Levy.

Condit’s cousin, Ceres native and now Riverbank resident Buck Condit, is a candidate for the District 1 seat occupied by Supervisor Kristin Olsen who is also not seeking re-election. Others running for her seat are Modesto Councilman Bill Zoslocki and Waterford Mayor Mike Van Winkle. District 1 represents Oakdale, Riverbank and Waterford.

District 2 Supervisor Vito Chiesa, who represents Hughson and Turlock, will be seeking re-election.