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Cantu opens storefront campaign headquarters
Cantu 2018
Manteca mayor hopeful Ben Cantu, right, and his campaign manager David Cushman inside of the Cantu for Manteca Mayor headquarters at 237 East Yosemite Ave. in downtown Manteca. - photo by DENNIS WYATT
Ben Cantu is the first candidate ever to campaign for elected office in Manteca to open a storefront campaign headquarters.
Cantu — who has emerged as the only challenger so far to incumbent Mayor Steve DeBrum’s re-election bid on Nov. 6 — has established a campaign headquarters at 237 East Yosemite Ave.
No one else in the 100-year history of Manteca politics has ever opened a campaign storefront.
“I’m stepping up my campaign a notch or two,” Cantu said, adding there will be a heavier emphasis on grassroots campaigning.
Cantu plans to use the space for town hall meetings, conducting phone banks, a meeting place for neighborhood canvassers, for volunteers to prepare mailers, and what he hopes to be an election night victory party.
Campaign manager David Cushman — who was an opponent of Cantu’s in the 2016 council election won by Gary Singh and Debby Moorhead — indicated 50 volunteers have already stepped up to work on phone banks.
It is just one of several things that Cantu is doing differently this time around. The retired city planner who now has a land use planning business has hired a political campaign consulting firm, has started placing his signs seven months in advance of the election, and place a significantly heavier social media presence.
Dauntless Communications — the Roseville-based firm Cantu has retained to assist with his campaign — has worked with clients such as the Sacramento Taxpayers Association and the Stanislaus County Republican Party among others.
Cushman said he sees eye-to-eye with Cantu on a number of issues and that they worked together during the 2019 campaign. This is Cantu’s third run for mayor including in 2014 when he was defeated by DeBrum. He has run for council twice making this his sixth consecutive bid to gain election.
Cushman believes in previous elections Cantu was unable to effectively reach people who share his views on what the city needs due to a limited campaign. He said the 2018 campaign is designed to spread Cantu’s message to as many people as possible.
Cantu is basing his campaign on what he calls “A Five-Point Plan for a Better Manteca.”
That includes:
u1. Bring public safety services up to par with a fast-growing city. He noted the police and fire departments are doing an “outstanding” job but are “under-staffed and stretched too thin.”
u2. Fix our crumbling roads an infrastructure. Cantu contends essential road repairs have been neglected too long. He said his top priority will be repairing existing roads and streets.
u3. Stop the endless empty promises and start building up downtown. He proposes moving city hall downtown to create a customer base and reinvest economic resources into revitalizing downtown. He would then transform the existing  city hall into a cultural/arts center.
u4. Redirect and re-organize housing developments to create more affordable housing. Cantu said those who work full-time in Manteca are being priced out of the Manteca housing market. He promises to “jump start the process of building houses to accommodate the price range of working families” in Manteca.
u5. Implement term limits and district elections for council members. Cantu said “the City Council should represent a geographic cross-section of the community (and) not be clustered in one part of town. He said he will push for district elections and term limits.
More details can be found at

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email