An infusion of oil and gas money into the Arvin City Council race seemed to be doing the trick late Tuesday — but then, Wednesday morning, came the final numbers.
Incumbent Jazmin Robles rallied to finish first in the eight-person race for three available council seats, and former planning commissioner Olivia Trujillo made a late leap to finish third.
In between was Mark Franetovich who, along with Daniel "Nano" Borreli Jr. and Abdo Algabyali, benefited from campaign contributions from the California Independent Petroleum Association and assorted business and conservative interests said to be motivated by Arvin's recent enactment of an ordinance limiting activity related to oil and gas production.
Borreli faded late to finish in fourth, out of the money, and Algabyali was fifth.
Robles finished with 18.4 percent, Franetovich with 16.4 percent and Trujillo with 16.3 percent.
Supporters of Franetovich, Borreli and Algabyali included prominent local politicians like Republican state senate candidate Shannon Grove, an Arvin native, and Bakersfield City Councilman Willie Rivera, a Democrat whose day job is CIPA spokesman.
Whether the reconfigured Arvin council reconsiders the ordinance, as might have been expected, is now somewhat in doubt; the pro-oil three would have been likely votes to overturn it.
Robles supported the ordinance, which was enacted last summer. Trujillo is on record as supporting the ordinance as well.
Tuesday night, just before midnight, Franetovich had 18.84 percent of the vote; Robles had 17.39 percent; Borreli had 15.54 percent; planning commissioner Olivia Trujillo had 14.09 percent; and Algabyali had 10.87 percent.
Jess Ortiz, an incumbent; Matt Look; and Juvenal Benitez were all under 10 percent.
Other Central valley cities are said to be watching the Arvin situation closely and pondering their own ordinances limiting aspects of oil and gas production in populated areas.
How does Kern County differ from the rest of California? Let us count the ways.
Here are two: the differences in the election night results for governor and Proposition 6, which was the proposed repeal of the gas tax.
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, had a resounding statewide lead over Republican John Cox in the gubernatorial race, 56 percent to 44 percent, with 28 percent of the vote in. But in Kern County, a red stronghold, it was decisively reversed: Cox led with almost 63 percent of the vote with about half the precincts reporting.
Same with Prop. 6: The no vote, which would keep the gas tax in place, led statewide with 54 percent of the vote. But in Kern County, voters supported the repeal with almost 59 percent "yes" votes.
Our election results tracker is live — follow along here.
Two candidates seemed to generate all of the light and heat in the Kern High School District's Area 4 race. The third candidate, who steered clear of all the controversy, was smoking them Tuesday night.
Retired teacher Janice Graves had more than 45 percent of the vote, with Jenifer Pitcher and Bryan Colebrook trailing at 28 percent and 26 percent, respectively.
And in the Area 1 race, retired teacher Cynthia Brakeman had a narrow lead over the incumbent, Mike Williams.
State Assembly and Senate races are currently very close ...
- In the 32nd Assembly District, Justin Mendes led incumbent Rudy Salas 50.7 percent to 49.3 percent with 64 percent of the vote in. They are separated by about 400 votes.
- In the 34th District, Vince Fong had a commanding lead with 74 percent of the vote against Nick Nikita.
- Andy Vidak had a slim lead over Melissa Hurtado, with 51.1 percent to 48.9 percent of the vote.
In the Kern Community College District race ...
- Incumbent Kyle Carter was cruising to reelection with nearly 32 percent of the vote but things are still tight among three of the four challengers for the second seat. Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg was in second with almost 23 percent of the vote, three percent ahead Lorenzo Alvarez and Karen Dewalt who had almost 18 percent.
In the Kern High School District, two retired teachers are currently leading both races ....
- In Area 1 Cynthia Brakeman is beating Mike Williams with more than 52 percent of the vote with half the precincts reporting.
- In Area 4 race, Janice Graves has more than 45 percent of the vote against Jenifer Pitcher with 28 percent and Bryan Colebrook with 26 percent.
- The county's two marijuana measures are both losing. Measure J was losing with more than 62 percent opposed; Measure K is much closer with 53 percent opposed.
- The County's sales tax increase, Measure I, was losing big with 67 percent against with 60 percent of precincts reporting.
- City of Bakersfield tax measure, Measure N, was losing 52 percent to 48 percent with about one-third of precincts reporting.
- The city's marijuana measure was losing 66 percent to 44 percent
In the Bakersfield City Council race, all four incumbents on the ballot are well on their way to reelection.
Kern County results are coming in:
- David Couch is leading in the 4th District Supervisors race with 52 percent to Grace Vallejo's 31.5 percent and Jose Gonzalez's 16.3 percent with 83 of 129 precincts reporting
- Mike Maggard has a commanding lead over Jeff Heinle with 57 percent of the vote
- Zack Scrivner has a 20 point lead
We are still awaiting Kern County voting results but we're not alone. Most counties in the state — 36 of 58 — have not reported any results yet.
Here's some early results:
With 28.8 percent of precincts reporting — all in Kings County —Justin Mendes has a big lead over incumbent Rudy Salas in the 32nd Assembly District race, with 62.5 percent of the vote. Salas has 37.5 percent but that gap will close when Kern County results come in.
Incumbent David Valadao has 66.2 percent of the vote in the 21st Congressional District race; challenger TJ Cox has 33.8 percent with 17.7 percent of precincts reporting.
Congressman Kevin McCarthy led Tatiana Matta 61.9 percent to 38.1 percent with 9 of 569 precincts reporting.
With 14.8 percent of precincts reporting, State Senate District 14 incumbent Andy Vidak was in the lead with 62.5 percent of the vote to challenger Melissa Hurtado's 37.5 percent.
It's 8:30 p.m., a half-hour after polls closed. Do you know where your Kern County election results are?
The first batch still hasn't dropped at this moment. But one race of local interest did have some votes: The 16th State Senate District race between Shannon Grove and Ruth Musser Lopez had a handful of votes -- all from San Bernardino County. With 7.3 percent of the districtwide votes in, Grove led with 62.7 percent. That's pretty early, but it may not bode well for Musser-Lopez: She lives in Needles, which is San Bernardino County.
With about 3 percent of precincts reporting, Proposition 6 to repeal the gas tax is winning with 51.3 percent of the vote.
John Cox leads Gavin Newsom in the governor's race with 2 percent of precincts reporting with 54.3 percent of the vote to Newsom's 45.7 percent in the first reported results statewide. The votes are a partial count of votes from 6 of the state's 58 counties. We expect that will change.
Democrats appeared to have locked up control of the House of Representatives Tuesday night, depriving Bakersfield's Kevin McCarthy of a likely promotion to speaker of the House.
Bakersfield City Council candidate Gilberto de la Torre posted a note to "family, friends and constituents" his Facebook account Tuesday night, seeking to clarify "the matter of the voter fraud allegations" issued against him by the DA's office Tuesday.
"The alleged voter fraud stems from the 2016 mayorial election. In June of 2017, two detective's from the DA office, contacted me and asked if i was willing to speak with them about 'possible voting frauds.' They informed me that their new department was investigating voter fraud in Bakersfield, CA. I was more than willing to cooperate voluntarily with them and their questioning process. At that time, i was told, they were investigating ANY possible voter fraud in the city. After speaking with the detectives, i was informed that i was not being charged and would be contacted later IF they needed to do follow up questions. This was the first, and only time the DA contacted me.
As of today, i am not aware that the DA has officially charged me, and have had no contact or notice from their office. ... In 2016 and 2018, i recieved MY ONE absentee ballot, and returned ONE absentee ballot.
"I am open to any questions, or criticisms, because i am not afraid of confronting these allegations with my head held high."
NBC calls the Senate for Republicans.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has become the youngest woman elected to Congress at 29 after winning the House seat for New York's 14th Congressional District. She is a democratic socialist like Bernie Sanders.
Fox News and NBC are both projecting Democrats will win the House. Still, many races are tight and Californians still have another hour to vote.
In one of the hottest national races, Ted Cruz appears to be pulling ahead of Beto O'Rourke. Cruz has a one percentage point lead with 15 percent of precincts reporting but most of the votes yet to be counted are in Republican areas.
Bakersfield City Council candidate Gilberto de la Torre is crying foul over the DA's Election Day announcement that he was being charged with election fraud.
"This might cause people not to want to vote for Gilberto de la Torre," the Ward 1 candidate said, referring to himself in the third person. "It may cost me a few votes."
The Kern County's District Attorney's office announced the charges against de la Torre and two others for actions stemming from the 2016 election, in which de la Torre was a candidate for mayor. It's not clear why those charges were announced two years later — on election day, with de la Torre on the ballot. He is challenging incumbent Willie Rivera; Marvin Dean is also on the ballot.
Oddly, the press release from the DA's office announcing the charges never mentioned the charges stem from the 2016 election, leading some to conclude that the fraud happened today. The press release went on to state that the DA's office is investigating "scores of claims concerning voter fraud."
De la Torre told The Californian he was interviewed by the DA's office in June 2017. He said he went to the DA's office voluntarily and was not led to believe at that time he would be charged. He said he still has not been charged.
"They weren't specific about what I might have done," he said. "I didn't vote twice — I vote by absentee, and it's not possible. I'm a U.S. citizen, born in East L.A. So I don't know."
Congressman Kevin McCarthy voted in Bakersfield Tuesday morning, then flew to Washington, D.C., to watch the election results. He landed in time to learn that National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Steve Stivers had told White House advisers to expect for a net loss of 17-21 seats in the House.
That would maintain the GOP in the majority and pave the way for McCarthy to become speaker of the House.
In an email to Republicans, CBS News chief White House correspondent Major Garrett reported, Stivers predicted that Republicans keep a slim majority.
Polls are now closed in more than half the conntry.
Local election results are expected starting at 8 p.m. tonight. Check bakersfield.com to view up-to-the-minute results for local races. And continue to follow along here on the blog as we highlight major developments throughout the night.
Kern County Elections officials have announced that Bimat Elementary has reopened for voting. It was shut down earlier Tuesday after a motorist crashed into the northwest Bakersfield school and fled the scene.
In a strange twist, the Kern County's District Attorney's office announced charges today against a Bakersfield City Council candidate, Gilberto de la Torre, and two others for voter fraud charges stemming from the 2016 election.
Even stranger, the press release from the DA's office announcing the charges never mentioned the charges stem from the 2016 election, leading some to conclude that the fraud happened today. The press release went on to state that the DA's office is investigating "scores of claims concerning voter fraud."
It's unclear why the charges were announced today but it could have implications for de la Torre's city council bid. Efforts to reach de la Torre Tuesday were not immediately successful.
William B. Bimat School District in northwest Bakersfield, which is a polling site, has been locked down by the Bakersfield Police Department.
Elections officials are asking voters to avoid the area; voting will continue there as soon as the lockdown is lifted.
Voters can vote at the Elections Division at 1115 Truxtun Ave. or cast a provisional vote at another polling location.
Chief elections official Karen Rhea said police told her a motorist had crashed into the side of the school and ran from the vehicle. Rhea had notified the Secretary of State's office that this could impact the vote count.
Four people in Kern County have been charged with voter fraud and perjury offenses and investigators are looking into "scores" of other claims regarding potential voter fraud, according to the District Attorney's office.
Prosecutors charged Gilberto De La Torre, John Byrne and Fernando Osorio with misdemeanor voter fraud, and Robert Lopez Jr. with perjury, a felony, a DA's news release said. Lopez is accused of falsely claiming non-citizenship on a jury summons to avoid jury duty.
No arraignment dates have been set.
-- Jason Kotowski
I've always been a big fan of voting in person. There's something that feels just so right and patriotic about going to a polling place and seeing young and old in line casting their ballot. When I think about it — as I did today — I actually get tears in my eyes.
So this morning I made my way to the Niles East Mobilehome Estates, five miles from my home. Five miles! That's not a complaint. That is likely a sign of the times, that more and more people are choosing to cast their ballot by mail.
At the Mobilehome Estates, I encountered friendly people who kept the short line moving. The older gentleman behind me wasn't sure which precinct table was his, and I assured him the workers would help him.
Every election I consider whether it's time to vote by mail. But I think I'd miss those tears in my eyes if I filled out a ballot at my kitchen table.
-- Christine Peterson
U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced today that Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew D. Segal will serve as the district election officer for the Eastern District of California.
The district election officer is responsible for overseeing the district’s handling of complaints of election fraud and voting rights abuses in consultation with Justice Department Headquarters in Washington, according to a news release from Scott's office.
Kern is one of the counties in the Eastern District.
Scott said in the release, "Every citizen must be able to vote without interference or discrimination and to have that vote counted. Ensuring free and fair elections depends in large part on the cooperation of the American electorate.
"It is imperative that those who have specific information about discrimination or election fraud make that information available immediately to our office, the FBI, or the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice. We will act promptly and aggressively to protect the integrity of the election process."
-- Jason Kotowski
Congressman Kevin McCarthy, who is staring down a monumental election, will not be in Bakersfield today as he usually is on Election Day. He flew this morning from Bakersfield to Washington D.C., his spokesman Matt Sparks said.
He will be in D.C. "to help candidates and the overall effort to hold the House majority. He voted earlier."
McCarthy was not in Bakersfield for the 2012 election either, Sparks said.
McCarthy should coast to victory in his own race for the 23rd Congressional District against Tatiana Matta, a Democrat who lives on Edwards Air Force Base. In eight general election campaigns over 16 years, going all the way back to his two terms in the California Assembly, McCarthy has never taken less than two-thirds of the vote.
Of greater significance to him is what happens in the House of Representatives. If Republicans retain control of the House of Representatives, where they've held power since 2010, McCarthy is very likely to become the next speaker of the House, succeeding Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
Without a doubt, it's a big day for him.
-- Stacey Shepard
A local resident posed the following question: Why do city voters vote on county cannabis measures but not on the county tax measure?
County Counsel Mark Nations said city residents vote on the county cannabis measures because they are residents of the county as well as the city. They don’t vote on the tax measure because the board, under Revenue and Taxation Code 7285, decided to impose the measure only in unincorporated areas. Only those living in unincorporated areas can vote on it.
-- Jason Kotowski
Voters at the Westside Church of Christ on Stockdale Highway were given the wrong ballots for about 45 minutes this morning.
They are voters in the Third District of the Kern County Board of Supervisors, in which Mike Maggard is fending off a challenge from firefighter Jeff Heinle, but the supervisors race was not printed on the ballots.
Karne Rhea, the county elections chief, said it was a poll worker error and only a small amount of voters were impacted but she could not give exact numbers. She said ballots were somehow swapped and those voters received the wrong ballots.
Rhea said multiple voter precincts vote at the church but only one precinct was affected.
"(The poll workers) rode together in the car and managed to swap bags or something," Rhea said.
She said there have been no other reports of voting glitches as of 10:30 a.m.
-- Stacey Shepard
Multiple people stood along Coffee Road waving signs supporting various candidates this morning.
At different intersections were people holding signs for the following: Republican John Cox, running for governor against Democrat Gavin Newsom; Bryan Colebrook, a candidate for the Kern High School District board of trustees; and Ken Weir, seeking re-election to Bakersfield City Council.
From Congressman Kevin McCarthy's Twitter account this morning:
"If you see a #veteran at your polling place today, please thank them for their service to our nation. We vote freely because of their willingness to serve and sacrifice. #ElectionDay"
-- Jason Kotowski
Haven't registered to vote? You can still vote on Election Day.
Unregistered voters can conditionally register to vote on Election Day and cast a provisional ballot in person at the Kern County Elections office, 1115 Truxtun Avenue.
Conditional voters ballots are processed once the county elections office has completed the voter registration verification process. Conditional voter registration is available from October 23 through Election Day.
To find out if you are already registered to vote, visit voterstatus.sos.ca.gov.
-- Jason Kotowski
For the best and most complete Election Day news coverage, Bakersfield.com's Election Blog is your spot.
Throughout the day we’ll post live updates so you'll know what’s happening locally and across the country — including whether the GOP can retain its hold on the House of Representatives, and what that will mean for our own Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s political future, as well as the California governor’s race and 11 ballot propositions.
Our reporters will work around the clock to provide news coverage on all major local races, including the race for Kern County’s Fourth District Supervisor, where David Couch is hoping to hang onto his seat in a newly redrawn district that’s now majority Latino. We'll also be watching the high-profile Kern High School District races and several local marijuana and sales tax measures, which will impact public safety funding and the future of legalized marijuana sales in Bakersfield and Kern County.
Stories on our website can be found in print tomorrow, where we’ll list the likely (and unlikely) winners and losers of each race.
Be sure to check The Californian’s Facebook page throughout the evening for election highlights. Local results get reported starting at 8 p.m. and we'll provide the latest updates.
You can also follow The Californian on Twitter at @Bakersfieldcali and on Instagram at bakersfieldcali.
Want to weigh in? Comment below or on our Facebook page, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
-- Stacey Shepard, News Editor