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Local political season starts next week
• Candidates can start signing up on Monday

While the nation’s attention continues to focus on whether Donald Trump will face Joe Biden or another Democrat on Election Day, Ceres will have to wait and see if more candidates other than Rosalinda Vierra emerge take on Mayor Javier Lopez on Nov. 5.

The official start to the municipal campaign season gets underway beginning on Monday when prospective candidates for city office may pick up nomination papers from City Clerk Fallon Martin at Ceres City Hall.

The candidate nomination filing period closes Friday, August 9. If an eligible incumbent in a particular race does not file by the deadline of 5 p.m. on August 9, a five-day extension of the nomination period occurs to allow qualified voters, except incumbents, to file by a deadline of 5 p.m. on Wednesday, August 14. Prior to qualifying as a candidate, the city clerk will verify the residency of each potential candidate through their nomination paperwork.

Candidates must fill out and return nomination papers signed by at least 20 registered voters in their district, or the city of Ceres in the case of the mayor’s race. Candidates are advised to collect about 30 signatures in case some of who sign their form prove not to be registered to vote.

Besides the mayor’s race, the Nov. 5 Ceres ballot includes the race for District 3 City Council seat occupied by Bret Silveira, who is the appointed vice mayor. Ceres Planning Commissioner Cerina Otero is planning to run against Silveira, who announced on Thursday that he is seeking re-election.

Also open is the District 4 Ceres City Council seat occupied by Daniel Martinez.

The office of city treasurer, currently occupied by his wife, Kayla Martinez, is also open.

Registered voters who are considering running for council should consult the council district map to determine which district they reside in. That map is available on the city’s website at

In the city of Hughson, two seats on the City Council are open this fall. Hughson residents who seek to run must pick up candidate documents from the Hughson City Clerk at Hughson City Hall, 7018 Pine Street, Hughson.

Three seats on the Ceres Unified School District Board of Trustees will be decided this fall. Those seats are Trustee Area 1, occupied by Brian de la Porte; Trustee Area 4 occupied by Faye Lane; and Trustee Area 7 occupied by Hugo Molina.

Nomination papers for those races must be picked up at the Stanislaus County Elections Office, 1021 I Street, Suite 101, in Modesto.

Voters in Ceres and the mostly western half of Stanislaus County voters will be deciding if Congressman John Duarte, R-Modesto, returns to the 13th Congressional District or is replaced by Adam Gray, a Merced Democrat who lost two years ago. The eastern half of the county – including Hughson and most of Modesto – mostly falls within the 5th Congressional District occupied by Tom McClintock.

Eastern Stanislaus County residents – including Hughson – will vote in the 9th Assembly District. Currently Heath Flora, a Ripon Republican, holds the seat and remains popular with his voters.

Locally, voters of the 22nd State Assembly District will be deciding if Juan Alanis, R-Modesto, goes back to Sacramento or if he should be replaced by Democrat Jessica Self.

Voters in the Hughson Unified School District will be electing board trustees in Area 1 and Area 3.

Two members on the Keyes Union School board are up for re-election. They are for Area 1 and Area 4.

Voters in the Keyes Community Services District will be decided on two board members for four-year terms and one board member for the two-year term.

Other open races include:

• Two seats on the rural Ceres Fire Protection District.

• Two seats on the rural Ceres Fire Protection District.

• A two-year seat on the Westport Fire Protection District 

• Two seats on the Riverdale Park Tract Community Services District.

• Two seats on the Monterey Park Tract Community Services District, one a four-year seat and the other a two-year seat.

Ceres City Councilwoman Rosalinda Vierra announced last month that she was be running against Javier Lopez for the mayor’s seat. Her announcement came weeks after mayoral candidate Troy Arrollo dropped out of the race.

In a message to the community, Vierra wrote: “As a dedicated public servant and community leader, I am committed to bringing real change to our city. Our city is struggling to address many pressing issues. It’s time for a new approach.”

She added: “It’s clear that we need a leader who will put the needs of our community above partisan politics, egos and personal agendas.”

Vierra told the Courier there is a growing dissatisfaction with the leadership of the mayor.

Mayor Lopez was contacted for comment but did not return the call.

Vierra said she is committed to tackle Ceres’ challenges, including outdated infrastructure, homelessness, limited housing options, public safety concerns, and a sluggish local economy. She said her educational and professional experience have equipped her with the “skills to analyze complex problems, develop effective solutions, and build strong relationships with stakeholders.”

Vierra was elected to the District 2 Ceres City Council seat in 2022 and is employed as a program specialist at Modesto Junior College. She also runs a small business called Ceres Party Helpers. She earned her bachelor’s degree and master’s degrees from the University of Phoenix.

Lopez was elected mayor in 2020 in an 8,753-to-6,924 vote margin over then Vice Mayor Bret Durossette.

Vierra acknowledged that she’s at a disadvantage in fundraising, noting that Lopez has been raising money since announcing in October. But she said Lopez was able to get elected against Bret Durossette with a small campaign fund.

“A lot of it I’m going to rely on is just the record and the service and commitment that I’ve made towards Ceres for the last two years. I think I’ve got a very good record when it comes to what I’ve done for the community.”