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Gebhardt heads for re-election to county school board

If the current election results hold, Vern Gebhardt will serve the residents of Manteca and the surrounding communities for four more years on the San Joaquin Office of Education’s Board of Trustees.

According to the most recent results posted by the San Joaquin County Registrar of Voters, Gebhardt – a retired educator that served multiple terms on the Manteca Unified Board of Education – holds a nearly 10,000 vote lead over challenger Jeff Tilton to represent Area 4.

That margin corresponds to a 55.24 percent vote total for Gebhardt, which means that if the election were certified today, he would bypass the November General Election for another term.

Tilton, who ran unsuccessfully in the past to be the Superintendent of San Joaquin County Schools, had 44.39 percent of the overall vote – which currently consists of early voting tabulations and election day ballots that were counted overnight.

The next round of updates to the election are expected at 5 p.m. today, and will be the last update until Tuesday, March 10. In a county that overwhelmingly votes by mail, it’s expected that the number of votes cast will continue to rise as mail ballots get delivered and are opened, counted, and prepared for release.

The five-person board, which encompasses all of San Joaquin County, includes two representatives that split the City of Manteca – positions currently occupied by Gebhardt and Janet Dyk. While Dyk’s territory includes the South County communities of Manteca, Ripon, Escalon and Tracy, Gebhardt’s extends from Manteca north to include portions of Manteca, Tracy, Lincoln, Stockton, and Lodi school districts.

 In other election developments for the County school board, incumbent Peter J. Ottesen currently holds a narrow lead of less than 100 votes over challenger Jill Fritchen to represent Area 3 – which includes a large portion of Stockton Unified as well as Weston Ranch.

If the election results were to be certified today, Ottesen and Fritchen would advance to a November runoff unless Douglas Vigil, the third candidate, can overcome a deficit of more than 200 votes in order to leapfrog one of the other two candidates.

The final election results are currently scheduled to be certified on April 2 at a time that has yet to be determined.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.