City voters elect four newcomers in Tuesday balloting to join Lemoore City Council

By The Leader Staff
Frank Gornick
Frank Gornick

Lemoore voters on Tuesday (Nov. 3) elected four new councilmembers and dealt a death blow to a one-cent sales tax meant to boost the city’s public safety efforts. Kings County voters also managed to take full advantage of mail-in balloting.  On Tuesday, 32,231 of the county’s voters cast their ballots by mail while 3,876 residents still managed to show up to vote in person.

According to Kings County elections officials, 36,107 of the county’s 60,173 registered voters voted in Tuesday’s presidential election, a 60 percent turnout.

Lemoore’s voters dealt a surprising knockout punch to the city’s effort to pass Measure K, a one-cent sales tax meant to keep Lemoore’s public safety departments – the Lemoore Police Department and the Volunteer Fire Department – whole at a time when, because in part to the pandemic, some city services were cut back and city employees furloughed.

The tax was likely to have generated an additional $1.8 to $2.0 million to the city coffers to be used only for public safety.

The city council victors included former West Hills Community College Chancellor Frank Gornick, one of four new councilmembers expected to be sworn into his District C seat in December. Gornick outpolled his lone opponent, Lemoore businessman Thomas Lee Nix, 787 to 616 in a matchup that saw 57.80 percent of the district’s residents’ vote.

In District B, a former Lemoore police officer, Jim Chaney, held off former mayor and councilmember Ed Martin to earn a spot on the council dais. Chaney finished with 635 votes to outpoll Martin’s 523. Mary “Janie” Venegas finished third in the race with 346 votes.

Lemoore’s District A saw resident David Orth run unopposed and will join the new council in December.

In District E, political newcomer Patricia Matthews withstood challenges from another pair of newcomers, Guadalupe Capozzi and Gwendolyn Landrus, to win her spot on the council.

Matthews finished with 549 votes to outpoll second-place finisher Capozzi, who totaled 486 votes. Landrus finished with 272 votes.

Local taxpayers obviously didn’t think much of the city’s effort to impose a one-cent sales tax. Only 47 percent (3,353) of the city’s registered voters cast their ballots for the measure while 52 percent (3,676) voted no. The measure required a two-thirds yes vote.

The final vote was surprising considering its support. Local law enforcement leaders – past and present – supported the one-cent tax measure, including Sheriff David Robinson, former Lemoore Chief of Police Darrel Smith, and former Lemoore chief and Kings County Sheriff Ken Marvin, and Lemoore Volunteer Fire Department Chief Bruce German.

In other local races, Stephen Todd retained his Lemoore Union Elementary School District Board of Trustees seat with his win over challenger Arthur Nelson. In the only Lemoore Union High School District seat up for election, incumbent John Droogh narrowly outpolled longtime Lemoore High School Counselor Wey Wyrick.

In other election results, Kings County’s longtime assemblyman, Rudy Salas, won yet another term in office, defeating Hanford challenger Todd Cotta. Thanks to a strong showing in Kern County, Salas easily got past the Hanford businessman 34,959 to 27,324 in the assembly district.

Cotta, however, had a solid showing in Kings County, besting the assemblyman 19,765 to 15,508.

Kings County’s first-term congressman, TJ Cox, lost a narrow district-wide race to Kings County’s former Congressman David Valadao Tuesday night. Overall, it was a close contest as Valadao outpolled Cox 56,269 to 53,236.

However, in his home county, Valadao’s supporters put him over the top as he outpolled Cox 21,987 to 13,530 in Kings County.


Comments powered by Disqus