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Manteca USD trustee stumbles in Stockton
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It looks like San Fant’s career in Stockton politics has taken a major blow.
While the election results aren’t certified yet, and thousands of absentee and provisional ballots are still outstanding, Fant is currently trailing challenger Jesus Andrade by 5,622 votes to represent South Stockton on the city council.
Fant – who will appear in San Joaquin Superior Court on Monday to enter a formal plea on a pair of election fraud and conspiracy charges for allegedly trying to stack the Manteca Unified School District board in his favor with ineligible candidates – actually beat out Andrade in the primary as the leading vote getter in the race to represent District 6 on the council.
“I think that I won my primary with 40 percent of the vote, with 5 people in the race, and I do believe that the at large election system really takes away from the true representation of the intention of the people of the district,” Fant said. “I’m glad that the people did approve the measure that goes to district voting, so now we are going to have district votes in two years.”
But a series of high-profile moves to bolster his case – including attempts to get a grand juror excused from their confidentiality clause so that they can testify about whether the report issued about Fant as a councilmember was racially biased and to force the San Joaquin District Attorney to surrender the case to the California Attorney General – failed in the lead-up to the election.
Fant was successful at extending the trial until after the election. Testimony in his preliminary hearing was damning – including testimony by a District Attorney investigator who informed the court that Alexander Bronson, who was one of the two people that Fant supposedly helped get on the board despite not meeting residency requirements, had taken a plea deal and was going to testify against him, The publicity surrounding the case, as well as the fact that Fant was elected at-large rather than by his support-heavy district, may have swayed voters away from him.
Fant’s seat on the Manteca Unified Board of Education, which he opted not to seek again, appears to be going to Weston Ranch assistant football coach Eric Duncan – whom Fant personally backed in the race.
Just like in Fant’s race, there are still outstanding ballots that have yet to be added to the totals from Tuesday’s election.
On Tuesday, Fant will step up to the dais at Manteca Unified for his last business meeting before the newly elected board takes their positions.
“Although we came up short at the end of this 2016 election, the race has just begun – the race to put Stockton on the right track and begin healing the political scars so we as a community can focus on making Stockton a more safe, vibrant and prosperous community for all to enjoy,” Fant said in a statement. “Congratulations to my former opponent Jesus Andrade. I am looking forward to helping him along with other city leaders in improving Stockton.”