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Two challengers emerge in race for Lathrop mayor
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The race for Lathrop mayor and for seats on the Lathrop City Council just got a little bit more crowded.

This week another mayoral hopeful, Sukhjinder Singh, took out the nomination paperwork to challenge Sonny Dhaliwal – the longest-serving mayor in the city’s history – as he prepares to extend his service to the city for a fifth consecutive term.

Bohr Singh Bhandal, a political newcomer, had already taken out the nomination paperwork to challenge Dhaliwal, but has yet to return it to the city clerk to qualify for the ballot. Both Bhandal and Singh will have until Friday at 6 p.m. to turn their paperwork back in to ensure that they will be appear on the ballots that will start to be distributed more than a month before the November election.

Those vying for one of the two Lathrop City Council seats, however, may end up with a little bit more time to get their paperwork in order.

While incumbent Jennifer Torres-O’Callaghan has already qualified for the upcoming election, fellow incumbent Martha Salcedo – who was first appointed to the council in 2006 – has not yet pulled the paperwork to qualify as a candidate. If Salcedo does not do so before the 5 p.m. deadline on Friday, the filing period for the other prospective candidates will be extended until 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 12.

Currently three people have qualified for the November ballot for the two available city council seats – Torres-O’Callaghan, Parks and Recreation Commissioner Minnie Lee Diallo and Rajkanwal Singh Nagra who qualified on Wednesday. Christopher Lee Sandoval was issued a candidate’s packet on July 14 but has yet to return it to the council, and Sarbjit Sroya was issued papers on Wednesday and will preliminarily have until Friday at 5 p.m. to return them completed to the city clerk – unless Salcedo chooses not to run.

Torres-O’Callaghan served as a Lathrop Planning Commissioner – a common track for the council – before being elected to serve the remainder of an unexpired term in 2018. Diallo has run for the council in the past and has been active in Lathrop in a variety of capacities including her appointment to the Parks and Recreation Commission and her active role in promoting a Black Lives Matter event in the community which drew praise from elected officials when it was held in River Islands earlier this summer.

This will mark the first election in a number of years that only the mayor’s seat and the two full-term council seats will be up for election. A number of issues ranging from resignations to announcements that the candidate would not seek the position they had qualified for even if they won to candidates that won and passed away shortly thereafter have created a situation over the last several election where four-fifths of the council was actually up for reelection at any given time – election rules require that those that are appointed to serve the first half of an open seat run for the ensuing two years during the next available election.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.