Manteca voters could create a City Council for the first time since the 1970s that has four-fifths of those serving with two years or less experience.
There are two seats up for grabs with Debby Moorhead as the only incumbent since Vince Hernandez opted not to seek re-election.
The rest of the field includes the youngest candidate in at least 40 years — 23-year-old David Cushman — along with Gary Singh, Jeff Zellner, Eric Hayes, and Ben Cantu.
Even if Moorhead is returned to office, the election will assure a three-member majority that wasn’t part of the leadership that guided Manteca city policy through the go-go growth days at the dawn of the century and the Great Recession that followed.
The shift comes at a time when a new City Manager — Elena Reyes — is preparing to hire three key department heads to lead Manteca Police, Manteca Fire, and community development.
Should Moorhead not get elected, it would leave Mayor Steve DeBrum as the only holdover from the long-running council combo that for years consisted of former Mayor Willie Weatherford, Hernandez, and former council member John Harris. All were on the council when DeBrum was first elected 16 years ago in 2002. Moorhead was first elected eight years ago.
Richard Silverman and Mike Morowit were first elected two years ago.
Other major shifts that could happen in today’s voting would be the creation of the first council majority since the 1960s dominated by businessmen or entrepreneurs. When Morowit was elected in 2014, he became the first retail merchant since former Mayor Frank Warren in the early 1990s to serve on the council. Zellner and Singh fall into that category.
Other council members in the past and current candidates have either worked for firms, worked for the government, or have been retired.
There are three Planning Commission members running — Zellner, Singh, and Hayes. Should two of them get elected it would mark the first time ever that a majority of the council is comprised of former planning commission members. Morowit with his 2014 election became the first planning commission to get elected to the City Council in at least 40 years.
Election officials anticipate a heavy turnout approaching 80 percent by the time the polls close at 8 p.m. Given the heavy mail-in balloting, there is a strong possibility a clear cut winner won’t emerge when the counting is done tonight. That’s because the deluge of last minute mail-in ballots need to be verified before they can be counted. That could take weeks to complete as has happened in past San Joaquin County elections.
The counting tonight will consist of some early mail-in ballots that have been verified and ready to count once the polls close as well as actual votes cast today at polling places.
Today’s election also marks the a first for Manteca Unified voters with voting by area only meaning voters from here on out will only vote for one board member and not all seven. The same is true for the election of Ripon Unified School District trustees.
Meanwhile Delta College trustees are still elected district wide while they must reside in specific areas.
Voters in Lathrop as well as north of Yosemite Avenue in Manteca along with voters in northwest Stockton and the Delta will select between appointed incumbent Moses Zapien and Tom Patti to serve on the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors,
Ripon and Lathrop are also electing council members while the South San Joaquin Irrigation District and Lathrop Manteca Fire District are selecting directors.
The most cantankerous local election pits incumbent Mayor Sonny Dhaliwal against challenger Steve Macias. The acrimony is rivaled by the 10th District Congressional race between incumbent Jeff Denham and challenger Michael Eggman to represent most of the South County and Stanislaus County.
Lathrop voters along with those in Stockton and Lodi will chose between incumbent Congressman Jerry McNerney and challenger
The State Senate race is a matchup between incumbent Cathleen Galgiani and Alan Nakanishi. There is no incumbent for Assembly as Kirsten Olsen was termed out. Her replacement, though, will be a Republican. Both Ken Vogel and Heath Flora are Republicans.
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