UPDATE: Councilman Madrigal provided this statement — “My campaign is about positive changes that I can bring as a Supervisor to serve our communities. My reasons for running haven’t changed. I am running to bring a new voice to the County Board of Supervisors for the people of our district. We need a County Supervisor that truly understands and has lived the real experiences and struggles the residents of District 3 face everyday, and I’ll fight for all of us everyday.”
Supervisor Terry Withrow said as he campaigns for his third term on the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors his message will highlight the difference between himself and his challenger, Modesto Councilman Tony Madrigal.
"It's accomplishments versus empty campaign promises," Withrow said when asked about the difference. "... We are doing too much good work in this county to let it go to someone who just needs a job.
"... We are going to fight the fight. But at the end, if I'm not what the people want then I go back to my life. But I want to make sure they see both sides before they make that decision."
Madrigal — who has a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of California at Santa Cruz — has held several jobs since first being elected to the City Council in November 2013, including substitute teacher, legislative aide for a state assemblyman and a field representative for a union.
He has said he is now establishing a political consulting business and working for a cousin who is a farm labor contractor.
Madrigal, 44, did not respond to three requests for comment Wednesday. He earns $24,000 a year as a councilman. A county supervisor earns $83,737. Madrigal was elected to his second and final four-year term to the council in November.
Withrow, 58, is a certified public accountant and a farmer and represents District 3 on the Board of Supervisors. The district includes west and northwest Modesto, Wood Colony and Salida.
Withrow was challenged by Madrigal and Salida advocate Katherine Borges in Tuesday's primary. Because no one got more than 50 percent of the vote, the two candidates with the most votes will face each other in a November runoff.
The county election office reported early Wednesday that Withrow had 44 percent, Madrigal 34 percent and Borges 22 percent of the 7,258 votes counted so far in their race. But there were potentially hundreds if not thousands of more votes to be counted.
The election office reported Wednesday evening that while it had counted 46,195 ballots cast in all of the races countywide it still had about 40,000 ballots left to count. It was not known how many were in Withrow's race, and he said the outcome might change.
Withrow said his record includes being part of the effort that ensured the county is in on a strong financial footing and tackling the homelessness crisis. He and former county CEO Stan Risen started Focus on Prevention, a county initiative that tries to solve stubborn problems, including homelessness. The initiative also has secured $2.5 million in state funding to deal with homelessness.
He said the work on homelessness includes opening an outreach and engagement center last year in which staff go out into the community to help the homeless and work on opening a shelter that takes in homeless couples and pets.
Withrow also said a pilot program just started that works with the homeless who cause the most distress to themselves and the community.
He said the goal is to get these people the help they need to break the cycle of their constantly showing up in emergency rooms, being placed on psychiatric holds or having frequent contact with the police.
Withrow added that much of his time as supervisor is dedicated to the needs of west Modesto, including starting a weekly cleanup of the Helen White Memorial Trail.
But Borges criticized Withrow for being out of touch and not responsive to his constituents. And Madrigal has said he is running to be a supervisor who represents all of District 3's residents.
Madrigal — who served two terms on the Santa Cruz City Council before being elected to the Modesto council — has earned a reputation for his tireless promotion of the city and for his community involvement. That includes founding an annual event that collects and gives away dresses and suits so high school students can attend prom.
But critics say Madrigal is a self-promoter who is more interested in himself than the community and takes credit for others' work.
For instance, when he ran for re-election to the council in November, Madrigal claimed he had lead the efforts to bring a seasonal ice rink and a University of California at Merced presence to downtown. But people involved in both projects said that simply was not true.