In a big night for incumbents, Terry Withrow and Dick Monteith held comfortable leads Tuesday night in their quests for four more years on the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors.
Monteith held a 1,000-vote lead over Modesto Councilman Dave Lopez with the first results after the polls closed at 8 p.m. and later extended that lead. The two-term incumbent had 58 percent of the votes to 42 percent for Lopez in unofficial results as of 10:15 p.m..
At the same time, Withrow held a commanding lead with 64 percent to 35 percent for Scott Calkins, who made his first run for public office.
“I am humbled and I am honored that the people in my district have asked me to serve them again,” said Withrow, who watched the results with family and friends at a home in the Wood Colony area. “I want to finish a lot of things we started.”
Monteith, 82, waged an active re-election campaign against Lopez, who hoped to make the jump to county government. The 47-year-old councilman terms out after the November 2015 election.
Monteith said he had mixed feelings on the eve of Election Day. With the low turnout, he said, he believed that support from seniors, veterans and “the Christian community” made a difference.
“I feel very gratified and appreciate the people who stepped forward and showed support for me,” Monteith said.
Lopez said he would keep watching the results. “I am inspired by the support we had. We are going to wait patiently and find out what ultimately the people have said.”
Lopez wanted to bring his political style to county government, with a focus on neighborhoods and meeting the needs of constituents. As of two weeks ago, the councilman had raised $34,130 this year compared with $30,608 for Monteith.
Lopez was endorsed by unions representing jail and patrol deputies and sergeants in the Sheriff’s Department. His support for Modesto to annex territory along Kiernan Avenue for job creation riled vocal Salida residents, some of whom gave grass-roots support to Monteith.
Monteith was endorsed by the Republican Central Committee of Stanislaus County and the Modesto Chamber of Commerce. He won election to the Board of Supervisors for the first time in 2006.
In a second term, Withrow, 54, said he wants to continue working on groundwater and farmland preservation. He helped write a county groundwater ordinance and serves on a water advisory committee that’s working on plans for managing aquifers. Withrow added that the county needs to work on putting more deputies on the streets and directing more of the budget to treating social ills that result in crime and violence, instead of treating the symptoms.
Monteith said he believed the strong showing by county office incumbents was a vote of confidence from the public. “I believe people feel we are on the right track. They know we have challenges and realize we are trying to handle them the best we can.”
Calkins, 50, noted that most of the challengers in the county elections were in the same position, and the low turnout appeared to help the incumbents. “The vote does say a third of the people are paying attention and feel we are not heading in the right direction. There is leverage to work with there,” Calkins said.
Bee staff writer Ken Carlson can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2321.