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Stanislaus County ballot count finalized
• Dirkse is sheriff by 2,824 votes

Stanislaus County County Clerk Lee Lundrigan said her office finalized the June 5 vote on Monday.

None of the outcomes of the various local races changed.

California law requires certification of the election to within 30 days of any election.

The county office completed its review of provisional ballots. Stanislaus County completed the required 1 percent hand tally of the vote which matched and supported the machine count.

Stanislaus completed the duplication process involving damaged, military, overseas and provisional ballots to enable them ultimately to be counted.

Stipend checks for election volunteers are being produced by the County Auditor and will then be mailed to the volunteers.

The office will be closed today in observance of the Fourth of July and the canvass will re-commence on Thursday.

Unofficial tally results and more information regarding the Statewide Direct Primary Election are posted on the Stanislaus Registrar of Voters website online,

The final count shows that Jeff Dirkse defeated Juan Alanis for sheriff in a 41,670 (51.63 percent) to 38,846 vote margin. Alanis captured 48.13 percent of the vote.

Dirkse was endorsed by outgoing sheriff Adam Christianson who earlier in his career was a Ceres Police officer.

Incumbent Stanislaus County District Attorney Birgit Fladager nearly avoided a November runoff election, as county positions that receive over 50 percent of the primary vote earn the office outright. Fladager received 38,508 votes, which accounted for just 48 percent of the total votes and will meet challenger Deputy District Attorney John R. Mayne in the fall, who came in second place with 18,403 votes, or 22.94 percent.

“Thank you to all who voted, contributed and have supported our campaign!” Fladager posted to Facebook following the primary results. “Those combined efforts nearly cleared the field for an outright win last night — but fell just short of the 50 percent plus one needed to win in June.”

Despite his boss’ large margin of victory in the primary, Mayne believes that people “who know the system best” will support him come November, pointing out that the DA’s office has a spotty record with human trafficking and homicides.

If elected in November, Mayne hopes to focus on violent crime in the area by forming a major crimes unit and help human trafficking efforts by zeroing in on those most likely to be victims.

“We will use money to improve public safety rather than the size of our televisions,” he said. “This county need not give up and accept the status quo. We can make positive changes for a better, safer community — the community we deserve.”

Scott Kuykendall remains poised as the candidate to beat going into the Nov. 3 election for superintendent of Stanislaus County Schools. The latest county shows Kuykendall, currently a Stanislaus County Office of Education Assistant Superintendent, received 33,829 votes, or 42.76 percent. In second place and heading to a run-off election is Shannon Sanford, who thus far has received 24,407 votes, or 30.85 percent. Both Kuykendall and Sanford edged out Waterford Unified School District Superintendent Don Davis for a place in the November general election. Davis’ vote count remained at 20,561, or 25.99 percent.

Kuykendall was hired seven years ago by Stanislaus County Superintendent Tom Changnon, who did not seek reelection, and also earned the veteran educator’s endorsement. As Stanislaus County Office of Education Assistant Superintendent, Kuykendall oversees numerous schools within the county and is instrumental in the Come Back Kids program, which helps adults who are looking for a second chance to earn their high school diploma.

“We are in a strong position heading into the November general election,” said Kuykendall said on Facebook. “I want to congratulate Shannon Sanford and Don Davis for positive, well-run campaigns. As Shannon and I move forward, all the best to Don as I know he will continue to do great things in Waterford.”

California State Senate and Assembly races were also narrowed down on June 5.

With Ceres Republican Anthony Cannella being termed out of his 12th District seat in the California State Senate, four candidates were on the June 5 ballot. Heading to the November election are Salinas Democrat Anna Caballero, who picked up 46,251 votes (or 43.1 percent) and Madera County Supervisor and Republican Rob Poythress, who collected 28,355 votes (or 26.4 percent). The primary election results took out of commission Fowler Mayor Pro-Tem and Democrat Daniel Parra who had just 8,629 votes and Republican Burrel-based dairy farmer Johnny Tacherra and his 23,976 votes, or 22.4 percent.

“This campaign has always been about a process,” Caballero said in a prepared statement. “A process to give voice to neighborhood leaders. We have spent thousands of hours talking to people in their homes, both individually and at house meetings. We have asked neighbors, students and workers to participate in discussions and surveys to talk about what they want for their families and their neighborhoods. We have held town hall meetings where hundreds of residents have expressed their dreams. This campaign is about helping people achieve those dreams.”

Madera County Supervisor Rob Poythress said if he is elected in November, he wants to get rid of business regulations, ensure reliable water supplies and ensure citizens get “more” from their elected leaders.

“We made it!” Poythress posted on Facebook following his second-place finish, thanking his campaign contributors and volunteers. “We will now focus on the November General Election.”

The race to fill Cannella’s seat is expected to be a close one since the Democrat candidates drew a combined 54,880 votes and the two Republicans collected 52,331 votes.

District 21 State Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced, who represents most of Ceres, ran unopposed in the primary and will be appointed as representative. Gray picked up 43,023 votes. Gray was elected in 2014 and re-elected in 2016 after Republican Greg Opinski withdrew from the race.

Incumbent District 12 Assemblyman Heath Flora, R-Ripon, faced off against challenger Robert D. Chase, a Modesto Democrat, with Flora receiving 55,541 votes for 63.8 percent of the vote. Chase received 36.2 percent of the vote, or 31,455 votes.

There were 236,374 Stanislaus County residents eligible to vote in the primary, and 89,836 ballots cast and counted. The 38.01 percent voter turnout was an improvement over numbers from the county’s last midterm primary election in 2014, which saw only 26.43 percent turnout. Voter registration in Stanislaus County has also increased by 25,000 since then, and by over 17,000 since the 2016 General Election.

Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox proved vastly popular in Stanislaus County, collecting 27,895 votes over Gavin Newsom’s 20,523 votes. Travis Allen was voted for by 14,415 local voters while Democrat Antonio Villaraigosa picked up 10,890 votes from the county.

With more Democrats in California than Republicans, Newsom goes into the November election in strong position. Now the lieutenant governor, Newsom’s latest statewide vote tally is 2,284,106 votes, or 33.6 percent to Cox’s 1,732,787 votes, or 25.5 percent. Villaraigosa picked up 907,957 votes, or 13.3 percent.

Ceres native Tom Berryhill, now a state Senator being termed out, is headed to a runoff with Frank Damrell in the November election for District 4 supervisor. Berryhill collected 8,492 votes (42.84 percentto Damrell’s 6,481 votes (32.69 percent).