Election 2014: Incumbents have early but strong leads in state races

Bee Staff ReportsJune 3, 2014 


Congressman Jeff Denham talks with Jim Ridenour during the Christianson, Fladager election night party at Greens on 10th Street in Modesto June 3, 2014.


Republican lawmakers were holding off Democratic challengers in races for the state Senate and Assembly and Congress.

State Sens. Tom Berryhill and Anthony Cannella had strong leads in Tuesday’s primary election against Democratic challengers, as did fellow Republicans Jeff Denham, the incumbent District 10 U.S. representative, and Kristin Olsen, District 12 state assemblywoman.

In unofficial results as of 10:49 p.m. from the California secretary of state, Berryhill, R-Twain Harte, had 64 percent of the vote compared with Fresno businesswoman Paulina Miranda’s 36 percent in the 8th Senate District, which includes all or parts of Amador, Calaveras, Fresno, Inyo, Madera, Mariposa, Mono, Sacramento, Stanislaus, Tulare and Tuolumne counties.

Cannella, R-Ceres, had 65 percent of the vote compared with 35 percent for Monterey County produce broker and businessman Shawn Bagley in the 12th Senate District, which reaches across all or parts of Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, San Benito and Monterey counties.

Denham, of Turlock, had 56 percent of the vote against challengers Michael Eggman, a farmer and small-business owner with 27 percent, and Mantecan Michael Barkley with 17 percent.

Olsen of Riverbank held 64 percent of the vote to 36 percent for Harinder Grewal, a county agricultural inspector and Turlock Unified School District board member, according to the California secretary of state’s website.

Tuesday was a dry run for the candidates because of the state’s new top-two statewide primary system, in which the top two vote-getters advance to the Nov. 4 general election.

Berryhill said he was taking nothing for granted and planned to campaign hard through the November election. Cannella said he was pleased with the results.

“I’ve worked hard the last four years to represent my district,” he said, “so the results are consistent with that work and with what I have been hearing” on the campaign trail.

Cannella, 45, is a civil engineer and partner with NorthStar Engineering and a former Ceres councilman and mayor. Bagley, 62, is vice president and produce broker with Monterey-based Complete Produce Inc.

Berryhill, 60, has served in the state Assembly. Miranda, 59, was a candidate for trustee for the State Center Community College District in November 2012 and a candidate in the special election for state Senate District 16 in May 2013. She did not win either election.

The California Fair Political Practices Commission ruled in April that Berryhill had engaged in a “serious and deliberate” violation of campaign finance rules when he funneled $40,000 from his campaign to his brother’s campaign for state Assembly in 2008. The commission approved a $40,000 penalty against him.

Berryhill said Tuesday that he has not decided whether to pay the fine or appeal the decision. He reiterated that he believes he did not do anything wrong. “It’s a matter of principle with me,” he said. “This is extortion. This case has taken five years.”

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