The Modesto Bee editorial board has interviewed candidates, conducted candidate forums, read reams of election material and deliberated the qualifications of many candidates for office. These recommendations are those upon which board members could reach consensus.
Most, but not all, endorsements were unanimous. That’s an important note to keep in mind when reading these recommendations. They’re not instructions on how to vote, even to members of our own board.
The board is made up of The Bee’s general manager, Tim Ritchey; Opinions Page Editor Mike Dunbar; Bee archivist Maria Figueroa and visiting editors Alana Scott and Adrian Crane. Editor Brian Clark attends editorial board meetings and contributes questions and insight. It’s a good group, and we appreciate them for engaging with the candidates, the issues and the discussions.
A couple of notes: The Bee does not endorse unopposed candidates such as Assessor Don Gaekle, Clerk-Recorder Donna Linder Riley, Assemblyman Adam Gray, etc. For offices unlikely to be decided in the June 5 primary, we sometimes offer two recommendations. In races for which we make no recommendation, either we didn’t have time or couldn’t reach consensus.
U.S. Senate: Dianne Feinstein, Kevin de León – Feinstein is one of the steadiest, most reasoned voices in the U.S. Congress.
U.S. House, District 4: Regina Bateson – Bateson offers a thoughtful alternative to one of the most strident representatives, Tom McClintock.
U.S. House, District 9: Jerry McNerney – A moderate Democrat, McNerney offers no hint of scandal.
U.S. House, District 10: Josh Harder – Smart, well-funded and determined to improve on Jeff Denham’s record.
Governor: Gavin Newsom, John Chiang – Both are liberal; one is dynamic, the other pragmatic.
Lieutenant Governor: Eleni Kounalakis, Jeff Bleich – Kounalakis grew up in Sacramento Valley; Bleich is a top-notch lawyer.
Attorney General: Xavier Becerra, Dave Jones – Both vow fight Trump’s actions against California.
Insurance Commissioner: Steve Poizner, Asif Mahmood – Poizner has done the job well in the past; Mahmood will concentrate on health insurance.
Superintendent of Public Instruction: Tony Thurmond – Choice of teachers, social workers.
Secretary of State: Alex Padilla – He’s done a good job; no reason to change.
State Treasurer: Fiona Ma – Helped blow whistle on board of equalization scandals.
State Controller: Betty Yee – She’s done a good job; no reason to change.
Board of Equalization, District 1: Tom Hallinan – Modesto lawyer says he’ll work to dissolve useless board.
Proposition 68: No recommendation – Great on the surface, but many baked-in projects for Southern California.
Proposition 69: Yes – Makes sure our gas-tax money is spent as promised.
Proposition 70: No – Actually an attempt to torpedo cap-and-trade system with super-majority requirement.
Proposition 71: Yes – Gives state time to count votes before enacting laws.
Proposition 72: Yes – Encourages homeowners to install rain-capture systems.
District Attorney: John R. Mayne, Patrick Kolasinski – DA’s office can use fresh air.
Sheriff: Jeff Dirkse – Best qualified.
Superintendent of Schools: Don Davis – Incredible record at Waterford inches above strong field.
Supervisor, District 3: Terry Withrow – He’s done a great job as a thoughtful, caring supervisor.
Supervisor, District 4: Frank Damrell III – Thoughtful manor best fit for board.
San Joaquin County
Sheriff: Patrick Withrow – County needs a sheriff who won’t meddle in autopsies.
Superviors, District 4: Chuck Winn – Knows water, has a life of service.