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Three with Ceres city connections seek supervisor’s seat
Condit, Kline & Hallinan seat DeMartini's District 5 seat
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.

Rumors about a forthcoming west side candidate didn’t materialize last week leaving three candidates – all who occupy a seat on the Ceres City Council dais – seeking the District 5 seat on the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors.

It could make for an uncomfortably awkward situation as the three conduct the business of the city until at least the March 2020 primary election.

Channce Condit and Mike Kline, both members of the City Council, and City Attorney Tom Hallinan are running each other to replace Supervisor Jim DeMartini on the county board. District 5 includes Ceres, Newman, Crows Landing, Patterson and Westley.

After the announcement earlier this year by former state Senator Anthony Cannella that he was abandoning plans to run for the District 5 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 a candidate for the state Board of Equalization in 2018. In 2017 the Ceres resident was elected chairman of the California Law Revision Commission, a state agency responsible for studying problem areas in California law and recommending needed reforms to the governor and Legislature. Hallinan was appointed to the commission in 2015 by Gov. Jerry Brown. He received his Juris Doctorate degree from the Lincoln Law School in Sacramento and is now a partner with Churchwell White LLP. Hallinan, an Oakdale native, has served as city/special district attorney for a dozen of local governmental agencies over the past 22 years.

If elected, Hallinan said he would resign from his position with the law firm of Chuchwell White which provides legal services with the cities of Ceres, Patterson and Newman.

Hallinan has been endorsed by former Ceres Mayor and state Assemblyman Sal Cannella, Sheriff Jeff Dirkse, and Ceres Mayor Chris Vierra and the mayors of Patterson and Newman.

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.

Kline was the second to enter the race. He is into his second council term which will expire at the end of 2020. Kline has served on the council for eight years and previously served on the Ceres Planning Commission.

Kline said it’s a good time for him to run since his second council term ends 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.”

Late to enter the race was Condit, who was sworn in as a freshman councilman last year and, if elected, would be leaving office midway through a four-year term. In a prepared press release, Condit said he expected Cannella to run and had “no intention of running for the Board of Supervisors, but when he decided not to run, I felt that we needed a strong voice for District 5 and I believe I can provide it.”

Condit said he has been an advocate for direct earmarks for public safety and led the effort to establish a beautification committee for the City of Ceres. 

“I will always represent the people of District 5, not the county bureaucracy or special interest groups,” said Condit in a prepared statement. “Local government is meant to be closest to the people. I will hold weekly constituent office hours for the residents and make constituent service the cornerstone of my public service.”

Condit’s endorsements include former Supervisor Paul Caruso, Assemblyman Heath Flora and Turlock Mayor Amy Bublak.

Condit hails 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, Empire, Knights Ferry and Waterford.

District 2 Supervisor Vito Chiesa, who represents Hughson, Keyes, Turlock and La Grange, is unopposed for re-election.