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Salcedo, Dresser take lead for 2 Lathrop seats

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POSTED November 7, 2012 1:38 a.m.

LATHROP – When you have 10 people vying for only a pair of seats, conventional wisdom says that the race will be a tight one.

The returns for the Lathrop City Council election told a completely different story.

With incumbent Martha Salcedo unofficially running away with just over 25 percent of the vote and former councilman Steve Dresser coming in close behind with more than 18 percent of the 5,646 ballots cast, the two seasoned political vets left their opponents in the starting blocks by the time the unofficial final totals were posted just after midnight.

Only political novice Paul Akinjo cracked double digits when his 580 votes corresponded to 10.27 percent of the ballots.

Salcedo – a teacher at Lathrop Elementary – was absent from a candidates forum last month held by the Lathrop Chamber of Commerce and the San Joaquin League of Women Voters. Instead of fundraising she bankrolled her own campaign through a personal loan and used the money to only pay for signs that she placed throughout the community.

She could not be reached for comment.

Dresser – an IT Director for a local school district – made an unsuccessful run for mayor two years ago and was one of the several candidates considered to fill the vacancy caused by Fire Chief Gene Neely’s vacancy after he announced he wouldn’t be seeking a term on the council regardless of whether he won the election.

One question that remains, however, will be how to fill the vacant seat left by Councilman Sonny Dhaliwal’s ascension to the position of Mayor.

Two years ago the council opted to go with the person with the next most votes – Omar Ornelas – to fill Neely’s vacancy. With the shift of power, three council seats will technically be filled, although Dhaliwal’s will only be for the remaining two years left on his term.

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