Stanislaus County candidates slow to file for June primary

March 4, 2008 

With the deadline for signing up to run in the June 3 primary election just four days away, candidate activity in Stanislaus County has been slow.

A pair of Berryhills have filed for adjacent state Assembly districts, incumbent judges are filing for re-election, and there are contests in two of the three county supervisor seats up for election.

Bill Berryhill, a Ceres farmer, has filed for Assembly District 26, and his brother Tom, the District 25 incumbent, filed for re-election. Both are running in the Republican primary.

District 25 covers Calaveras, Tuolumne, Mariposa and Mono counties and part of Madera and eastern Stanislaus counties. District 26 covers parts of Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties.

The eight Stanislaus County Superior Court judges up for election have taken out nomination papers, and most have filed them. No challengers had filed as of Monday afternoon.

Few file for supervisor seats

No surprises have surfaced in the three supervisorial districts.

Newman Mayor John Fantazia, who announced his intention to run a few months ago, said Monday he will file papers this week to run against incumbent District 5 Supervisor Jim DeMartini. DeMartini has qualified for the ballot.

Hughson farmer Vito Chiesa and former Stanislaus County Sheriff Les Weidman have been campaigning for the District 2 seat held by retiring Supervisor Tom Mayfield. Chiesa and Weidman have filed nominating papers.

Any additional candidates for District 2 will have a few extra days to file for that election. Most candidates have until 5 p.m. Friday to file, but if the incumbent doesn't file for re-election, candidates have until 5 p.m. March 12. That rule doesn't apply to termed-out legislators, however.

No one has taken out papers to challenge incumbent District 1 Supervisor Bill O'Brien.

"I might be Irish, but there's no way I'm that lucky," O'Brien said of the possibility of running unopposed. O'Brien said he expects to have competition and is prepared for it. "At this point, I'm ready to go with a full-fledged campaign."

For the others, the prospect of two-person races has a financial appeal -- the race would be over in June. If no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote then, the top two vote-getters compete in a runoff in November.

"The money involved goes down by half if there is no runoff," Chiesa said. "It's a democratic system, and anyone who wants to join is welcome."

Fantazia agreed. "I encourage everyone to run," he said, but added, "Obviously, it's cheaper if it is decided in June rather than November."

Weidman said he doesn't see a two-candidate race as good or bad, but added it's better not to have to hit up contributors again for a runoff election.

DeMartini, who has been running since Dec. 1, also mentioned avoiding a runoff as an advantage of a head-to-head matchup. The time and money involved in running and the work involved in holding the supervisor job may discourage people, DeMartini added. "It doesn't appeal to a lot of people," he said.

Information on filing requirements is available at the county registrar of voters Web site, www.stanvote.com, or by calling 525-5200.

Bee staff writer Tim Moran can be reached at tmoran@modbee.com or 578-2349.

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