With none of the three candidates for San Joaquin County Office of Education superintendent showing a clear run-away winner as of close to midnight on election day, it appears there will be a run-off election in November between James Mousalimas and Jeff Tilton.
Close to midnight, the San Joaquin County Registrar of Voters was showing only the results of 93 out of 501 precincts with James Mousalimas leading the three-way race.
Both, even while the votes were still being counted, were optimistic about the results of the run-off elections in November and stayed firmly confident of their success in the polls five months from now.
“It’s too early to tell for sure, but we’re excited at this point,” Mousalimas said when contacted by telephone just before midnight. He expressed gratitude in receiving the most number of votes.
“We all knew this will be a very tough race,” he added, “but if the early returns hold steady, it will give us great momentum and support and we’ll focus on November.”
He said he and his campaign committee will “reassess our (campaign) strategy in the coming weeks and then focus on November.” However, he believes that “all hard work and dedication” will put him and his campaign in a perfect position to win in the run-off elections.
Tilton, who was at the Ripon Roadhouse with supporters in the evening watching the election results, noted that it looked like he and Mousalimas were showing a decrease in the votes while Michael Gillespie’s numbers were increasing. Still, he was sounding positive and hopeful and said he was looking to the November elections. It’s what he and his supporters have expected.
“We’ve expected this and we have strategies set up for the next five months,” Tilton said.
He and his supporters have plans in place and are hopeful their strategies will help them in the run-off elections in November.
At 10:30 p.m. with 93 out of 501 precincts reporting, candidate James Mousalimas was leading the three-way race with 42.03 percent of the votes, or 15,021 out of 35,738 total votes, followed by Jeff Tilton with 32.95 percent or 11,776 votes, and Michael Gillespie with 24.69 percent or 8,825 votes.
The top two vote getters in the superintendent race automatically goes to a run-off election in November general elections. That will not be necessary if one of the candidates garners 50 percent of the votes plus 1.
Trustee areas 3 & 4
There are two election battlegrounds in the San Joaquin Board of Education as well. In Area No. 3, incumbent Jill Fritchen of Weston Ranch was in the race against challenger Peter J. Ottesen.
The numbers were clearer in the Area No. 4 race where Fritchen of Weston Ranch is trying to hold on to her position. With 45 of the 77 precincts reporting, Fritchen was more than 10 percent behind challenger Peter J. Ottesen whose total votes up to that time was 2,868 or 55.66 percent.
It was too early to tell the results in the Trustee Area 4 race where Manteca’s Vernon Gebhardt was showing 56.36 percent of the votes (4,570) with only 8 of the 112 precincts reporting. Candidate Janell Somera registered 43.35 percent of the votes (3,515) in the two-way race to fill the position vacated by Anthony Gutierrez who decided not to run for re-election.