Innes quits run for seat on Modesto Irrigation District

gstapley@modbee.comSeptember 25, 2013 

    alternate textGarth Stapley
    Title: Reporter
    Coverage areas: Regional water, growth, land-use and transportation; civil law, real estate fraud and special projects
    Bio: In his 19 years with The Bee, Garth Stapley has focused on city and county government

— Matt Innes has suspended his campaign for Modesto Irrigation District and endorses Paul Campbell.

Innes, who owns Mission Builders, could make time for board meetings but is too busy to run for office, he said.

“The campaigning portion is overwhelming,” said Innes, 46, of Riverbank. “I didn’t expect such a commitment and I just don’t have the time.”

It’s too late to remove his name from the Nov. 5 ballot. Innes will remain as one of nine MID candidates for three races, all open because incumbents chose not to seek re-election.

Innes’ exit leaves Campbell facing Les Johnson for the Division 3 seat being vacated by board member Tom Van Groningen. The seat represents northeast Modesto and a portion of Riverbank.

“Paul and I see things pretty close together,” Innes said. “I’m supporting Paul. We share a lot of the same concerns.”

Innes is a cousin to the father of Jake Wenger, who seeks the MID’s Division 4 seat. They did not compare notes when deciding to run, Innes said.

Wenger faces Ted Donham, Brad Johnson and Jim Mortensen to represent northwest Modesto and Salida. Stepping down from that seat is Paul Warda.

The remaining race pits John Mensinger against Carmen Sabatino for Division 2, taking in much of central Modesto, now represented by Glen Wild.

The MID board has encountered turbulence in recent years with a number of controversial issues, including a proposed water sale to San Francisco and questions about electricity customers subsidizing farmers. The board will have an opportunity to recast its public persona after the Nov. 5 election, which will bring three new men to the five-member board.

See this weekend’s Bee for a comprehensive report on the three races.

Bee staff writer Garth Stapley can be reached at or (209) 578-2390.

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