Withrow hangs on – by 129 votes – to beat Madrigal for Board of Supervisors

November 2018 Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors District 3 candidates Tony Madrigal, left, and Terry Withrow.
November 2018 Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors District 3 candidates Tony Madrigal, left, and Terry Withrow.

Stanislaus County Supervisor Terry Withrow has been re-elected in a tight race against Modesto Councilman Tony Madrigal, according to final results released Friday night for the Nov. 6 election.

Withrow received 12,647 votes versus 12,518 for Madrigal, a difference of 129 votes in the election for the Board of Supervisor’s District 3, which includes Salida, Wood Colony, and west and northwest Modesto. There were 139 write-in votes, as well.

Withrow said in a Saturday phone interview that he was humbled and honored to be elected to his third, four-year term. Madrigal did not respond to requests Saturday for a phone interview but provided this text message:

“With a result this close, it’s obvious that a large number of voters in our community are looking for change. The incumbent didn’t even reach 50% support from the voters. The supervisor for District 3 is going to need to do more to listen to the community in order to better serve our needs.”

Madrigal will remain on the City Council. He was re-elected to a second, four-year term in November 2017.

Withrow is a partner in a CPA firm. He has been a popular and respected supervisor and has focused on such issues as tackling homelessness and securing the region’s water supply.

He said he was not surprised by the closeness of the race. Withrow saw his early lead of about 1,000 votes on election night dwindle as more votes were counted.

“My opponent (Madrigal who is a Democrat) turned this into a partisan race,” said Withrow, who is a Republican. “It’s supposed to be a nonpartisan race.”

Withrow said as he knocked on voters’ doors he was outnumbered by Democrats campaigning for Madrigal and Josh Harder, the Democratic challenger who unseated Republican Rep. Jeff Denham to represent Stanislaus County and southern San Joaquin County in Congress.

Withrow noted that Madrigal even appeared in a Harder television spot.

“I’m thankful in the end for the people who voted for the person and not the party,” Withrow said. “That’s the only way I won. If it’s a partisan race ... there are more Democrats in my district than Republicans.”

Still, all five members of the Board of Supervisors are Republicans. And that includes Tom Berryhill, the state senator who is being termed out of office and beat Democrat Frank Damrell to succeed District 4 Supervisor Dick Monteith, a Republican who is retiring.

Stanislaus County Registrar of Voters Lee Lundrigan said in a Saturday phone interview that her office conducts a second count in close races before releasing the final results.

She said that was done for the Withrow-Madrigal race as well as other close races in the Nov. 6 election. The final election results show close races for city council in Riverbank, Newman and Patterson.

“We do this to give the candidates an absolute confidence in the numbers,” she said.

She said people have five days to request a recount. They have to pay for the recount, though they get their money back if the recount changes the election results.

Lundrigan said there have been two requests during her 17 years as registrar of voters, and they were called off before being completed after initial results showed no change in the votes.

Voter turnout surged for the Nov. 6 midterm election, with 64.3 percent of registered voters casting ballots. Turnout was 43.3 percent for the November 2014 midterm election.