Early returns Tuesday suggest Scott Kuykendall and Shannon Sanford are headed for a November runoff for Stanislaus County superintendent of schools.
Meanwhile, a school bond measure in Patterson was ahead, but a fire tax in Hughson was trailing.
With 44 percent of precincts reporting, Kuykendall had 11,454 votes, or 44 percent. Sanford was at 8,197 votes, or 31 percent. They would need to top 50 percent to avoid a runoff.
Don Davis was third with 6,466 votes, or 25 percent.
Kuykendall is assistant county superintendent under incumbent Tom Chagnon, who did not seek re-election. Sanford is superintendent of the Gratton School District, and Davis holds that position with the Waterford Unified School District.
Four candidates were unopposed to lead county departments — Don Gaekle for assessor, Kashmir Gill for auditor-controller, Donna Linder for clerk-recorder and Donna Riley for treasurer tax collector.
Early returns showed a proposed parcel tax for the fire district in Hughson ahead, but not by enough to pass.
Measure U, which would have assessed each single-family parcel $130 for fire equipment, personnel and training, had 53 percent of voters in favor and 47 against. The measure, which constituted a special tax, requires approval from two-thirds of voters to pass.
Faring better was a school bond proposal in Patterson. Measure V, which would reissue nearly $34 million in bonds, needed 55 percent voter approval to pass. Early returns showed the measure ahead with 60 percent of the vote with 40 percent against.