Some of the most contested elections in Kern County were at the school board level. Some of the hottest races were open seats, but there were also serious challenges to incumbents. Though it's too soon to call any upsets, a few challengers were ahead in the votes counted on the night of the election.
Kern High School District
Two incumbents faced off against challengers for a seat on a board for the district that serves nearly 42,000 students in Kern County.
David F. Manriquez was leading against incumbent Joey O’Connell, current board vice president, as the two vied for a seat in Area 3. With 115 of 151 precincts reporting, Manriquez had 53.99 percent of the vote to O'Connell's 45.99 percent. Area 3 includes a wide swath that includes Shafter, Independence, Golden Valley and Arvin high schools.
With 49 of 78 precincts reporting, Jeff Flores was so far holding onto his seat in Area 2 with 66.46 percent of the vote. Challenger M. Dayle Record had 33.54 percent of the vote.
Bakersfield City School District
BCSD is the largest K-8 district in the state with more than 30,000 students, and its board had the most potential for turnover this election. Four of five seats on the board were contested by 11 candidates in Tuesday's election.
With 14 of 23 precincts reporting in Area 3, challenger Chris Cruz-Boone was leading with 54.96 percent of the votes against incumbent and current board president Ralph Anthony who had 45.04 percent of the vote.
One of the hottest races was for Area 5, the seat left open by trustee Fred Haynes stepping down. With 20 of 32 precincts reporting, Shannon Zimmerman held a lead against her competitors, claiming 38.52 percent of the vote. Behind her were Brooke Malley Ault with 26.41 percent, Ian Journey with 14.68 percent and Bethany Bachman with 11.58 percent. Johnitta Clemons dropped out of the race but she had 8.78 percent of the vote.
Lillian Tafoya was holding onto the seat she's held since 1996 in Area 1 with 60.22 percent of the vote. Challenger Michael Eggert had 39.77 percent with 14 of 34 precincts reporting.
In Area 4 with 20 of 25 precincts reporting, Laura Guerrero-Salgado was so far holding onto a seat she was appointed to with 54.05 percent of the vote. She had two challengers: Miguel Juarez Sr. received 28.67 percent of the votes and Ben Valdez Jr. 17.24 percent, so far.
Panama-Buena Vista School District
Seven contenders are vying for three seats in Area 2, the largely northwestern half of the district that serves 18,500 students in Bakersfield. The top three winners of the election will go on to have a seat on the board, and only one incumbent, J.P. Lake, was running. He had 16.63 percent of the vote behind Bryan Easter who had 19.79 percent. Paula Van Auken, who said she was dropping out, still managed to get 17.20 percent of the vote. Right behind Lake is Kelly Youngstrom who had 15.22 percent of votes.
With 16 of 52 precincts reporting, Zack Bashirtash had 13.63 percent, Tom Webster 9.59 percent, Mike Tann 5.16 and Muosadak Abbas 2.77 percent of votes.
Rosedale Union School District
The board for the Rosedale Union School District had an open seat with no incumbents that drew six challengers. So far 15 of 36 precincts were reporting with preliminary results. Laurel Sheffield led the race with 28.14 percent of the vote and not far behind was Joshua Porter with 25.80 percent of the vote. Gary Kraucyk had 16.41 percent, Gabe Garcia had 9.48 percent and Rosa Lara Rios had 7.12 percent.
The at-large seat opened up when trustee Barbara Mettler resigned, so whoever wins this seat will only serve two years, but they will be in a good position to run for three new geographically-specific trustee areas.