Election 2014: Lunney, Warnke will face off for Merced County sheriff

jholland@modbee.comJune 3, 2014 

Merced County voters Tuesday appeared to put Pat Lunney and Vern Warnke in a November runoff for the open sheriff’s post.

Tony Dossetti and Daron McDaniel apparently will face off for the District 3 seat on the Board of Supervisors, both of them outpolling incumbent Linn Davis.

Voters also were leaning toward approval of two of the four school bond measures on the ballot, and Treasurer Tax-Collector Karen Adams led in her bid for re-election.

District 5 Supervisor Jerry O’Banion was unopposed for a new term, as were District Attorney Larry Morse II, Superintendent of Schools Steve Gomes, Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder Barbara Levey and Auditor-Controller Lisa Cardella-Presto.

Here is how the races stood Tuesday night:

• Sheriff: With 82 percent of precincts reporting, Lunney had 33.8 percent of the votes, Warnke 33.6 percent, Frank Swiggart 26 percent and the rest for Jim Soria.

They are seeking to succeed Tom Cavallero, who was appointed to complete the current term after Sheriff Mark Pazin left for a job in Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration.

Lunney has been chief of investigations for the Merced County District Attorney’s Office since 2008. He also served as chief of the Merced Police Department for 15 years. Warnke is a retired senior sergeant and part-time deputy for the Sheriff’s Department.

• District 3 supervisor: With all precincts reporting, Dossetti had 39 percent of the votes and McDaniel had 34 percent. The district includes Atwater, north Merced, Franklin-Beachwood and McSwain. Davis was at 20 percent, and William Snyder had the rest of the votes.

Dossetti is a retired police chief and a Merced city councilman. McDaniel is an aide to Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock.

• Treasurer tax-collector: With 82 percent of precincts reporting, Adams led with 54 percent of the vote over challenger Richard St. Marie, the director of administrative services at the Sheriff’s Department.

The measures, which each needed 55 percent of the vote to pass, looked like this:

• Measure L: This bond measure for the Merced River School District had support from 61 percent of the voters, with all precincts reporting.

• Measure M: The bond measure for the Merced City Elementary School District had 57 percent approval, with all precincts reporting.

• Measure N: The Le Grand Union High School District’s bond measure was falling short at 51 percent, with half the precincts reporting.

• Measure O: The Planada Elementary School District bond proposal was at 53 percent, with one of three precincts reporting.

Measure M, which has been in the spotlight, promises to repair K-8 schools by fixing leaky roofs and faulty electrical systems, and removing asbestos and lead paint, according to the “Vote Yes on M” website.

With less than two hours left before the polls closed, Merced County officials said the voter turnout had been disappointing.

“I’m hearing that it’s been pretty quiet and a very low turnout,” Levey said. “We do sometimes see a spike when people get off work, so I’m hoping things will pick up.”

The Merced Sun-Star contributed to this report.

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