Longtime Councilwoman Amy Bublak appeared headed for victory Wednesday morning among four candidates seeking to be Turlock’s next mayor.
With 100 percent of the precincts reporting, but still some ballots to count, she had 36.87 percent of the vote while former Mayor Brad Bates had 30.95 percent, Mayor Gary Soiseth had 28.18 percent and former City Council candidate Jaime Franco had 3.73 percent.
The results were as of 1:01 a.m. and based on 11,463 votes. Soiseith said earlier in the evening that he expected a high turnout with about 15,000 votes cast citywide.
“I feel good for where I am right now,” Bublak said in a phone interview on Tuesday night. “But you never know.”
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Bublak attributed the early results in part to her walking the entire city to talk with voters. “I met everybody. ... I feel pretty confident that people got to meet me and find out whether I was sincere or not.”
She has served on the City Council for 10 years. Soiseth and Bates did not respond to requests for comment.
Soiseth, who is running for his second term, focused on the city’s accomplishments during his first term, including the plan to build a water treatment plant and improving local roads.
But he has been accused of being a bully who has driven away two city managers, a police chief, a fire chief and other top city officials. He and Bublak also have been part of a City Council that has approved spending that is drawing down budget reserves.
Bates has said the fundamental issue is returning the city to its correct form of governance: a council and mayor setting policy that is carried out by city administration without interference.
Turlock voters also are electing two council members.
In District 1, Nicole Larson — a recent graduate and student body president of Stanislaus State — was leading with 45.3 percent of the 3,450 votes counted. Former Councilman Forrest White was in second with 24.41 percent, Jon Boulos in third with 17.51 percent and Autumn Salazar in fourth with 9.94 percent.
Logan Sisco also qualified for the ballot but dropped out the race. He received 2.41 percent of the vote in the early returns.
“We’re just tremendously proud of the hard work that this grass-roots campaign really produced and the positive message we were committed to spread,” Larson said in a phone interview about the early results.
The council seat was open because outgoing Councilman Matthew Jacob did not run for re-election. District 1 covers east Turlock.
In District 3, challenger Andrew Nosrati was ahead of incumbent Bill DeHart with 51.41 percent of the 2,945 votes counted versus 47.84 percent for DeHart. The district covers northeast Turlock.