DeMartini keeps Stanislaus County supervisors seat

06/05/2012 8:20 PM

06/06/2012 12:00 AM

Jim DeMartini easily overpowered challenger Daniel Padilla on Tuesday to win a third term on the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors.

With 56 of 74 precincts counted, DeMartini had captured 2,822 votes, or 60.3 percent, to Padilla's 1,842 votes, or 39.4 percent.

DeMartini can be a lightning rod, unafraid to take on political enemies and those who don't share his conservative views or vision for the county's West Side. He also represents most of the county's third-largest city, Ceres.

The farmer and longtime local Republican Party leader is a fixture at scores of public gatherings and meetings throughout District 5. He has knocked on 5,500 doors since Feb. 11, he said.

"I think you should meet the people you represent," he said Tuesday.

Padilla, 32, of Ceres, is bilingual, but the Latino Community Roundtable endorsed DeMartini, a member of that group for more than a decade. With his re-election, all five county supervisors remain white Republican men.

A civil engineer, Padilla had wanted to help poor communities with water and sewer systems. He had finished last in a four-way Ceres City Council race last year and supports the West Park proposal in Crows Landing that is strongly criticized by his opponent.

DeMartini's goals include establishing an after-hours urgent care clinic on the West Side, permanently preserving farmland, economic development and prohibiting the sale of groundwater to other regions.

Both campaigns were self-funded, though DeMartini donated far more to his.

DeMartini unseated three-term incumbent Supervisor Paul Caruso in 2004 with 51 percent of the vote. In 2008, DeMartini rejected a challenge by former Newman Mayor John Fantazia, winning 71.62 percent to keep his seat.

Supervisors Bill O'Brien and Vito Chiesa faced no opposition and also were re-elected.

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

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