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Dhaliwal leads in Lathrop for reelection as mayor
Dhaliwal fights off challenge
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Incumbent Mayor Sonny Dhaliwal, center, checks election returns at his Lathrop home Tuesday night. Dhaliwal leads challenger Steven Macias with almost 61 percent of the vote as of 12:15 a.m. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL/The Bulletin

Sonny Dhaliwal won’t have to clean out his office at Lathrop City Hall after all.
The incumbent mayor headed for his third consecutive term as the head of the Lathrop City Council on Tuesday night – staving off the challenge of a political newcomer who was backed by his former opponents as well as local business interests that were upset with the council’s decision to annex the property of a large truck stop into the community.
Dhaliwal, who stood by his pledge to run a clean campaign, led political upstart Steven Macias by almost 450 votes as of 12:15 a.m. 
“I’m happy the way the trend is going, and if the lead holds and I’m given the opportunity to serve our city for two more years, we will continue to work hard to bring more jobs to our city, keep the crime rate low, bring additional retail and find a solution for SB5,” Dhaliwal said. “We ran a very positive campaign and I am proud of all of the volunteers who helped put us in that position.”
Despite running by all accounts what was a clean campaign, Dhaliwal came under attack last week by a shadowy political action committee that painted him as “corrupt” and paired him with embattled Stockton politicians Sam Fant and Anthony Silva.
Fant was losing to his challenger to represent South Stockton on the city’s council, and Silva – who was arrested for allegedly playing strip poker with a minor earlier this summer – essentially conceded to challenger Michael Tubbs shortly after the first election results were made public.
Macias – who became known in Lathrop politics when he organized an alleged grassroots effort to defeat the Pilot/Flying J truck stop – said that he was confident heading into the election returns and noted that he was proud of the campaign that he ran, which he says was issue based. If he would have been victorious, Macias said he wanted to focus his initial efforts on promoting business in the community.
In the council race – where three seats are up for grabs – incumbent Martha Salcedo appeared to be heading for a third term on the council with more than 31 percent of the vote. Mark Elliott, who was appointed to the council earlier this year to serve the remainder of the first half of Omar Ornelas’ first term, is in second place in the bid for a full four-year term with 21.4 percent of the vote, while political newcomer Ruben Sandoval trailed Elliott by only 57 votes.
On the Lathrop Fire Board, Josh Gish appeared to be poised to overtake one of the incumbents with 26 percent of the total vote as of press time. Chairwoman Gloryanna Rhodes was sitting in second place with 16.4 percent of the vote, and Jeremy Coe was in third with 14.83 percent of the vote. Incumbent Bennie Gatto trailed Coe by only 8 votes, and incumbent Manuel Medeiros was only 21 votes behind Gatto.
During the last council election, those who were leading as of the unofficial final posting changed over the course of the coming weeks when all of the provisional and absentee ballots were counted. There are still thousands of ballots that have yet to be tallied in San Joaquin County.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.