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Rep. Duarte, Gray gearing up for fierce fight for CA-13 seat
• McClintock, Alanis, Flora far in front
Gray and Duarte again
Adam Gray (left) and John Duarte

In a year with very few competitive races on the ballot in Stanislaus County, among the least competitive was the race for the California’s 13th congressional district between incumbent Rep. John Duarte (R-Hughson) and former Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced).

It was uncompetitive in the sense that Duarte and Gray were the lone entrants, guaranteeing that both would advance to November’s general election.

But now that the March 5 primary is in the rearview mirror, the Duarte-Gray rematch figures to be one of the most competitive races in the nation, as it was in 2022 when political neophyte Duarte upset Gray by just 564 votes to claim the seat. It was the second-closest congressional race in the country two years ago.

For months, the Cook Political Report with Amy Walter has classified the race as a toss-up.

Gray issued a press release just minutes after vote centers closed on Tuesday, wasting little time in firing the first salvo of the general election campaign.

“It’s time to put Congress back to work,” said Gray. “Our neighbors, friends, and families need someone in Washington who will actually get something done — not waste time on the taxpayers’ dime.

Duarte remained ahead of Gray in the latest vote count, collecting 30,114 votes (54.9 percent) over Gray’s 24,692 votes (45.1 percent). 

Meanwhile, in the 5th congressional district, which includes Hughson, incumbent Congressman Tom McClintock (R-El Dorado Hills) held a commanding lead over challengers Mike Barkley (D-Manteca) and Steve Wozniak (Ind.-Modesto). In the latest vote count, McClintock amassed 98,719 votes (58.3 percent) to Barkley’s 55,731 votes (32.9 percent) and Wozniak’s 14,936 votes, or 8.8 percent.

Barkley, a perennial office seeker, held a sizable lead over Wozniak and cruised to a November rematch with McClintock.

In the 22nd Assembly District, incumbent Assemblyman Juan Alanis (R-Modesto) maintained a healthy lead over Modesto Democrat Jessica Self with 22,285 votes (56.2 percent) to Self’s 17,339 votes (43.8 percent).

Like the Duarte-Gray matchup, Alanis and Self were the lone primary candidates and will advance to the Nov.  election. They squared off in 2022, with Alanis taking 58.1 percent of the vote.

In the race for state Assembly District 9, which covers Hughson, Republican Heath Flora clobbered Tami Nobriga, Rosella A. Rowlison and Belinda Latrice Smith. Flora received 7,985 votes (75.65 percent) over his closest rival, Nobriga who amassed 2,463 votes (23.33 percent).

Proposition 1, which would authorize $6.38 billion in bonds to build mental health treatment facilities for those with mental-health and substance-use challenges, and provide housing for the homeless, was narrowly winning. As of Monday, Prop. 1 collected 2,732,667 yes votes (50.3 percent) to 2,702,965 “no” votes (49.7 percent).

In other statewide races, Rep. Adam Schiff (CA-30) and former baseball star and Republican Steve Garvey, are headed to the November general election in the race for U.S. Senate, having outpolled Rep. Katie Porter (CA-47) and Rep. Barbara Lee (CA-12). Schiff collected

And to the surprise of nobody, President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump won their parties’ primaries and are headed for another showdown in eight months.

With a good chunk of the vote-by-mail ballots counted, Biden had received 18,357 votes (88.69 percent) among Stanislaus County Democrats, while Trump had garnered 22,753 (84.24 percent) from the county’s Republicans.

In the contest for the county’s District 2 Democratic Central Committee, Margaret Souza, Victor Azevedo Costa, Michelle Tennell and Lise Talbot were the leading vote-getters at press time for the four open seats.

On the Republican side, Ryan Taylor, Kelly Thompson, Patrick Shields, Thomas Pannier and Christan Santos were the leaders for the GOP Central Committee’s five open seats.

Stanislaus County Supervisors Channce Condit, Matthew “Buck” Condit and Vito Chiesa all ran unopposed.

Across the river from Ceres, Sue Zwahlen held a commanding lead over her two opponents in the Modesto mayor’s race. Zwahlen collected 18,187 votes (82.47 percent) over Sebastian Jones’ 2,182 votes (9.89 percent) and Dewey Bedford’s 1,685 votes (7.64 percent).

- Jeff Benziger contributed to this report.