Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen will be unopposed on the June ballot for a seat on Stanislaus County’s Board of Supervisors.
Oakdale City Councilman Tom Dunlop, who pulled nomination papers Friday, did not return them by Wednesday’s deadline.
In a surprise move last Thursday, Bill O’Brien, the incumbent in the supervisorial district that includes Riverbank and Oakdale, declared he would not seek a fourth term and endorsed Olsen.
Olsen announced she was running for county supervisor about 30 minutes later. She completes her final term in the Assembly in December.
“While I would have welcomed the opportunity to campaign, I feel blessed to be able to spend the next few months working hard for our area in the state Assembly, rather than campaigning for office,” Olsen said Wednesday after no one else filed. “We have a lot of work to do.”
Dunlop discussed his decision in a Facebook message. “The past few days have shown a great deal of support to run for this office. However, given the limited timeframe given to make this important decision, this is not the right direction for me to take at this time,” Dunlop stated.
Olsen, a Republican legislator who lives in Riverbank, began running advertising online Friday followed by campaign spots on radio. Some felt that O’Brien discouraged potential candidates by delaying his announcement until late last week. Friday’s filing deadline was extended for five days because the incumbent did not run.
Though it’s a nonpartisan office, Olsen is poised to serve with fellow Republicans and county supervisors Vito Chiesa, Dick Monteith and Terry Withrow starting in January 2017. Incumbent Jim DeMartini, chairman of the Republican Central Committee, is seeking a fourth term as the District 5 supervisor against two challengers: Patterson Mayor Luis Molina and Eileen Wyatt Stokman of Ceres.
Chiesa is not opposed for the June primary.
Olsen, who represents the 12th Assembly District, said she sees the Board of Supervisors as a nonpartisan board much like the Modesto City Council.
“Partisanship never came into play on the Modesto council,” said Olsen, who was a council member from 2005 to 2010. “I hope to have the same type of experience making Stanislaus County a better place and believe those are issues that people of all ideologies care about.”
The timing of the O’Brien and Olsen announcements last week drew some choice comments on The Modesto Bee’s website. “It is a political strategy to manipulate a win,” wrote Marty Carlson, who frequently comments on articles. “Does not show very high character by either, but is how the game is played by master manipulators.”
Asked to comment on the conservative inclination of the board, DeMartini said the board doesn’t often deal with partisan issues. “We are dealing with the delivery of services. A lot of it is mandated by state government,” he said.
O’Brien has said he endorsed Olsen for her contacts in Sacramento and ability to help the county battle a state water board plan, which could take water from local users for salmon restoration in rivers.
Olsen said she is committed to assist the county. In addition, the legislative caucus from the San Joaquin Valley is holding meetings on the expenditure of water bond funds with an aim to make sure progress is made on funding storage projects, Olsen said.
As a county office seeker, Olsen said her priorities are protecting local water supplies and creating more economic opportunity in Stanislaus County.
Ken Carlson: 209-578-2321