Four-term Bakersfield City Councilman Harold Hanson, who initially said he wouldn’t seek a fifth term, but later changed his mind, may now be wondering whether he should have stuck with his original plan.
The latest vote count from county elections officials Wednesday showed longtime Bakersfield Planning Commissioner Jeffrey Tkac, a reserve police officer and business owner, handily winning a three-way race to represent Ward 5 in the far-southwest section of the city, with more votes than the other two candidates combined.
At last count, Tkac had garnered 7,046 votes, or 51.4 percent of the total. While it’s impossible to determine exactly how many ballots remained uncounted, the trend overnight Tuesday showed Tkac more than doubling his raw lead over Hanson, who as of Wednesday held a distant second place with 3,563 votes, or 26 percent of the total.
Ryan Nance, president of the local chapter of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, was trailing in third place with 3,054 votes, or about 22.3 percent.
Hanson, now serving as the city’s vice mayor, did not return multiple phone messages left Tuesday and Wednesday. Likewise, messages left for Nance on Wednesday were not returned.
Tkac, who spent much of election night with family and friends at Chalet Basque, suggested there may be some poetic justice in the ballot results.
Hanson, Tkac said, had agreed more than four years ago to not seek re-election and throw his support behind Tkac during the 2016 campaign. But apparently Hanson changed his mind.
“Four years ago, I went to him and said, ‘Councilman Hanson, I won’t run this time if you don’t run next time,’” Tkac recalled.
Hanson agreed, Tkac said.
The owner of a local irrigation company, Tkac said he’s been preparing for this position for years. Running his own business, serving as a planning commissioner and as a reserve police officer has provided him with diverse experience.
“I have my finger on the pulse of this city,” he said.
“Mr. Hanson is a great guy, but he has served his time.”
In adjacent Ward 6, incumbent Jacquie Sullivan, 76 — the longest-serving member of the Bakersfield City Council — won a sixth full term, besting challenger Bobby Cloud.
As of Wednesday, Sullivan had 68.5 percent of the vote, or 6,786 total votes. By contrast, her 39-year-old challenger had received 3,084 votes, or 31.3 percent of the total.
Reached Wednesday, Sullivan thanked her opponent for running a “clean” campaign.
One of the issues she’d like to tackle in what she said is “probably” her last term, is the annexation of so-called “county islands” that still exist well within the city limits.
It would increase the efficiency of city and county services, and would likely improve police service to residents who live in those county islands, Sullivan said.
Reached Wednesday, Cloud was direct and philosphical in his response to the election results.
“I always said if everybody was happy with what Jacquie was doing, people would vote for Jacquie,” Cloud said. “I wanted to give people an option. I did give people an option.
“But people were happy with Jacquie.”