Modesto council incumbents heading toward re-election

Modesto City Councilman Tony Madrigal hugs his mother, Elena Madrigal, as election returns come in Tuesday night, Nov. 11, 2017
Modesto City Councilman Tony Madrigal hugs his mother, Elena Madrigal, as election returns come in Tuesday night, Nov. 11, 2017 Andy Alfaro

UPDATE: The leads for the three incumbents held as the election office released more results. As of nearly 10 p.m. Tuesday, Councilwoman Jenny Kenoyer was maintaining her lead, with 66 percent of the vote in her race. Councilman Tony Madrigal had 71 percent of the vote in his race, and Councilman Bill Zoslocki had 79 percent of the vote in his race.

Modesto council members Jenny Kenoyer, Tony Madrigal and Bill Zoslocki held huge leads in their campaigns for re-election based on early results Tuesday evening.

Kenoyer had 66 percent of the vote, while challenger Joe Day had 33 percent in the race for Council District 5 in north-central Modesto. Madrigal had 74 percent of the vote in the race for District 2, which includes downtown and south and west Modesto. District 2 challengers Homero Mejia and Jon Rodriguez had 20 percent and 5 percent of the vote, respectively.

Zoslocki had 80 percent of the vote in his District 4 race, versus 19 percent for challenger Tyler Ray. The district covers southeast Modesto. All of the results were as of 8 p.m. when the polls closed and were for absentee ballots.

The three incumbents said it was too soon to declare victory but were pleased with the early results.

“I feel optimistic and humbled to see so much support from the voters and cannot wait to see the final results,” Madrigal said. “Tomorrow we get back to work on more jobs, more safety, more community improvements.”

Zoslocki and Kenoyer were expected to be re-elected.

“I want to thank all of those who have worked so hard on the campaign,” Zoslocki said. “I also want to acknowledge Tyler and wish him the best in the future.”

“I just want to thank everyone for having confidence in me and believing in me,” Kenoyer said, “and letting me continue to work hard for our city.”

Madrigal was expected to have the most competitive race but that was not the case based on the early results.

He started raising money for his re-election in 2015 and has raised more than $93,000, even though his district has the lowest voter turnout among the six council districts. Madrigal needed just 804 votes to win in 2013. Madrigal had the support of Mayor Ted Brandvold and Councilwoman Kristi Ah You.

Mejia has raised more than $21,000 for his campaign. Contributors include Councilman Doug Ridenour, who gave $100, and the Modesto Police Officers Association, which gave $1,001. The MPOA — which represents the Police Department’s approximately 180 officers and detectives — had endorsed Madrigal in 2013.

Mejia is a former longtime community organizer with Congregations Building Community with deep and long ties to Council District 2, which is heavily Latino and has more than its share of poverty. But he got a late start on the campaign, deciding to run for office just a few months ago. Most candidates typically make that decision a year before the election.

“I’m surprised but not surprised,” Mejia said. “I just think it was my message did not get through or it was too much of a (campaign funding) gap. I’m a little bit stunned. We did the work on the ground. I thought were were going to come a lot closer.

“I’m thankful for the work we did, and the people we engaged, and I’m thankful for all of the volunteers, and the people who will continue to work in the district. But at the end of the day, what matters is who shows up at the polls. The voters have elected Tony. They elected him, and we need to respect that.”

Kevin Valine: 209-578-2316