Longtime Bakersfield Planning Commissioner Jeffrey Tkac, a reserve police officer who proposed a mounted police patrol downtown, was winning a three-way race to represent the far southwest on the Bakersfield City Council with 51 percent of the vote.
Tkac appeared to upset the re-election bid mounted by four-term incumbent Councilman Harold Hanson, now serving as the city’s vice mayor. Ryan Nance, president of the local chapter of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, was trailing in third place.
Tkac, who was tracking election returns Tuesday night with family and friends at Chalet Basque, was encouraged by the early results.
“I just want to do a quality, nonpartisan job for the people of Ward 5,” said Tkac, who noted his experience running a successful business, serving in law enforcement and on the planning commission gives him the kind of experience needed in Ward 5.
“Mr. Hanson is a great guy, but he has served his time,” Tkac said.
In adjacent Ward 6, incumbent Jacquie Sullivan — the longest-serving member of the Bakersfield City Council — won a sixth full term.
Sullivan has been on the dais since winning a special election in the summer of 1995, while Hanson’s own 16-year tenure mirrored that of outgoing Mayor Harvey L. Hall.
She and Hanson are each in their late 70s — giving them 15 years on councilmen Terry Maxwell, Bob Smith and Ken Weir, all born in 1954 and the council’s next-oldest representatives.
Sullivan and Hanson turn 77 and 80 next month, respectively, and if elected would both be in their 80s when their next terms end. They would be among the oldest council representatives on record — but that’s unconfirmed, as the City Clerk’s office doesn’t track candidates’ ages, only that they are at least 18.
Hanson, who initially said he wouldn’t seek a fifth term, but then changed his mind, said recently this would be his last term.
Like Sullivan, he had been spurred to seek another four years by a desire to see Bakersfield’s Thomas Roads Improvement Program projects — including the Centennial Corridor connection between Highway 58 and the Westside Parkway — closer to completion.
That meant facing challenges from Tkac, 53, and Nance, 42.
Wednesday morning, Tkac had 7,046 votes, or 51 percent of the total. Hanson, in turn, had 3,563 votes, or 26 percent, and Nance 3,054 votes, or 22.3 percent.
Unlike Hanson, Sullivan beat back a challenge from first-timer Bobby Cloud, 41, a family law attorney. Wednesday morning, Sullivan had garnered 68.5 percent of the vote, or 6,786 votes. By contrast, Cloud had received 3,084 votes, or 31.3 percent of the total.
Hanson and Sullivan could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.