By Ed Martin, Editor
Kings County Supervisor Joe Neves
Kings County Supervisor Joe Neves

Lemoore voters, in considering who their votes will go to locally – from local city council and school board elections – seem to be facing somewhat of a down year when it comes to full slates of candidates.

The ballot this fall may not appear to reflect the public’s desire for change as several candidates opted against running for office again or local residents, who might have considered running for office, simply were not interested in running this time around.

The most interesting contest, though, is perhaps between longtime District 1 Supervisor Joe Neves and Stratford’s Robert Chavez, a first-time candidate for local office. District 1 encompasses Stratford and a big part of Lemoore.

In June’s primary election, in which Kings County voters appeared to stay home  - casting just 18.99 percent of their votes – Neves easily defeated both Chavez and former Lemoore Mayor Eddie Neal.

Neves actually came close to clinching the victory outright in the primary, accumulating 48 percent of the votes (7,832) that day, but forcing a November runoff with Chavez.

Neves told The Leader that his experience and community service might have put him over the top. “I’ve received a lot of phone calls and a lot of support, and people were willing to help,” he said following his June victory.

Local voters begin to consider where their local votes may go on Nov. 8

Chavez, though a newcomer, is no slouch when it comes to his campaign. This year's first-time candidate has raised a whopping $50,629. Neves reported $6,698 in contributions.

However, when it comes to who has raised the most money, District 1 voters don’t seem that interested in which candidate has the deepest pockets.

So far, Chavez’s biggest campaign benefactor could be John Vidovich, who, according to local FPPC campaign contribution statements, contributed over $30,000 via family members and Sandridge Partners.

In local races, two Lemoore City Council seats were up for re-election. However, the incumbents, Stuart Lyons and former West Hills College Chancellor Frank Gornick found themselves running unopposed and will continue their service.

In local school boards, the Lemoore Union High School District has longtime incumbent and former Lemoore High School teacher, principal, and assistant superintendent, Lupe Solis, finding himself challenged by former LHS teacher and former police officer Tracy Landrus.

At the Lemoore Elementary School District, there were no takers as Jerry Waymire and Mark Pescatore, both incumbents, failed to draw challengers. One seat was left completely vacant, forcing the district will have to appoint someone.

West Hills College is attempting to pass Measure J, a local bond measure designed to call for additional classrooms, more programs, and upgraded facilities. Measure J is an $8.6 million bond measure that voters in Lemoore, Stratford, NAS Lemoore, Riverdale, and Avenal will vote on. The state will kick in an additional $21.9 million for the construction of a new academic building on the local campus.

(The Leader, during the primary and general election, attempted to contact District 1 Supervisor Candidate Martin Chavez several times but did not get a response).