By Ed Martin, Editor
Kings County Supervisor Doug Verboon
Kings County Supervisor Doug Verboon

It’s the day after California’s primary, the most consequential election in the country, and the Golden State is still blue, and Kings County remains solidly red.

Kings County voters continued their “red” ways Tuesday night by clearly favoring Republicans in nearly every state office. While Lt. Governor Gavin Newsome finished well on top in the governor’s statewide primary, his opponent, John Cox, clearly was favored by Kings County voters giving the once-unknown Republican, their collective nod with 4,791 votes compared to Newsom’s meager 1,260.

Only Diane Feinstein, with 2,909 votes, won favor with Kings voters.

On the local scene, incumbents seemed to rule the roost as Kings County Supervisors Doug Verboon, and Joe Neves came out on top in Tuesday’s election, both turning in strong performances against formidable candidates.

Kings County Election Results

District 3's Verboon faced a stiff challenge from Lemoore Chief of Police Darrell Smith but still managed to snare the lion’s share of votes, finishing with 54.96 percent of the vote, handing him his third term in a row.

Kings County Supervisor Joe Neves
Kings County Supervisor Joe Neves

Verboon acknowledged his opponent’s skills during the campaign. “Chief Smith has a good name and people supported him,” said Verboon. “He had me worried a little bit, but it was nice to have a race where we weren’t arguing with one another. It didn’t get contentious.”

No resting on his laurels. Verboon plans to get right to work, delving into the issues he cares about, water, agriculture, business, and High-Speed Rail.

Neves also withstood a strong challenge from Lemoore City Councilmember Eddie Neal to win his seventh term on the Kings County Board of Supervisors. Neves outpolled the popular Neal 1,276 to 789 with most of the votes counted.

Despite losing, Neal was pleased with his effort at attempting to knock off a six-term incumbent. “I put a lot of effort into the race, 100 percent from the start,” he said. “I’m for the people. If this is what they wanted, I support their decision. I would have loved to win, but I’m still pleased, and I thank my supporters.”

Neves, who with his wife Kathy, spent Tuesday night at the campaign headquarters of Keith Fagundes grilling steaks while waiting for the election returns. “We were doing what we normally do,” said Neves who remains popular with his electorate since winning his first election in 1994. This year’s race was the first time Neves had an opponent. “We feel more comfortable with an apron that a suit. We spent the evening working and watching the polls.”

Kings County District Attorney Keith Fagundes
Kings County District Attorney Keith Fagundes

While he remains euphoric over his most recent win, Neves said there is a lot of work ahead. He cited groundwater management, transportation issues and the sustainability of Cal-Viva health care as essential issues in the coming years.

“I’m glad we get to go through this process, but I’m glad it’s over,” said Neves. “I’m glad we’re going to get to serve District 1 and the people of Kings County for another four years.”

In the Kings County Superintendent of Schools contest, Todd Barlow, Kit Carson’s superintendent/principal, easily beat Lemoore High School Principal Rodney Brumit, collecting 66.18 percent of the vote compared to Brumit’s 33.20 percent.

District Attorney Keith Fagundes, seeking his second term, amassed over 70 percent of the vote Tuesday night crushing former Kings County DA Greg Strickland.

Assemblyman Rudy Salas will have his hands full in the November election when he faces Hanford’s Justin Mendes who narrowly outpolled Salas 51.8 percent to 48.2 percent. Both candidates easily won their home territory, Mendes in Kings County and Salas in Kern County. But Mendes performed particularly strong in Kings where he outpolled Salas 64.11 percent to 35.66 percent. In District 32, Mendes finished with 12,512 votes compared to Salas’ 11,646.