Bigelow is new 5th district state assemblyman

Just eight votes separate county board of supervisor candidates

Brian WilkinsonNovember 7, 2012 

Madera County Supervisor Frank Bigelow is the new District 5 State Assemblyman, defeating long time politician Rico Oller Tuesday. With all 446 precincts reporting as of 2 a.m. Wednesday, Bigelow had 68,616 votes (52.7%) over Oller's 61,599 votes (47.3%), becoming the first Madera County resident ever elected to the State Assembly.

"I'm very thrilled that the people throughout District 5 have elected me to represent them and be their voice in Sacramento," Bigelow said after leaving an election party at The Vineyard Restaurant in Madera. "It's very humbling and I am extremely proud of all the people who stepped up and helped me get elected. There have been so many great people who have reached out to me and offered their help and I want to thank them all."

Bigelow, who has two years left on his term as a Madera County Supervisor representing District 2, will officially resign from the board prior to Dec. 3, the day he will be sworn into office in Sacramento. His seat will remain vacant until the governor appoints someone to the board.

He said he is anxious to get to work in Sacramento.

"My priorities are going to be focused on reducing the government regulations that have stopped business from moving forward and job creation," Bigelow said. "I will also work on repealing the illegal rural fire tax recently implemented."

Bigelow was confident going into Tuesday's election and said it was time for a change in Sacramento.

"We don't need recycled politicians in Sacramento to cause more of the same problems we already have," Bigelow said. "New blood and new ideas will bring new leadership to the Capitol and that will bring new results. I've got a track record of providing results and getting things done for the people I serve. I'll do the same thing in Sacramento."

Bigelow and Oller were the leading vote getters in the June primary election, with Oller edging Bigelow by 4.5% of the vote.

The primary was the first election in California that allowed the public to vote for any statewide candidate regardless of what party preference was indicated on their voter registration. In the new system, the top two candidates, regardless of party affiliation, advanced to Tuesday's general election.

The 5th District includes the foothill and mountain areas of nine counties from Calaveras (Placerville) in the north to Madera in the south.

As expected, long time O'Neals resident Bigelow, 58, made a strong showing in Madera County receiving 18,725 votes (64.5%), with Oller receiving 10,321 (35.5%).

Bigelow is a four-term Madera County Republican supervisor representing District 2. His term ends the end of this year.

His family has lived in Madera County and owned Ponderosa Telephone Company and cattle ranch Bigelow Farms for more than 100 years.

Bigelow is also a past-president of the California State Association of Counties, representing 58 counties. His wife Barbara sits on the Chawanakee Unified School District board of trustees.

Bigelow had endorsements from Congressmen Jeff Denham and Devin Nunes, former Congressman George Radanovich, former California Secretary of State Bill Jones, Senator Tom Berryhill, Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen, El Dorado County Supervisors Jack Sweeney and John Knight, Placer County Supervisor Kirk Uhler, four supervisors from Amador and Mono Counties, three supervisor from Madera and Mariposa counties and Madera County Sheriff John Anderson. In addition, the California Farm Bureau Federation, California Professional Firefighters, California Small Business Association, Crime Victims United of California and National Tax Limitation Committee have endorsed Bigelow.

Oller, who owns Material Ventures, is from San Andreas in Calaveras County.

In 2000, he won election to the California State Senate representing its 1st District. From 1996 until his election to the Senate, he represented the 4th Assembly District.

McClintock wins Congressional seat

Republican Tom McClintock got off to a quick lead over Democrat Jack Uppal and maintained a large lead all night long, receiving 154,540 votes (61.1%) to Uppal's 98,515 votes (38.9%) with 98.7 of precincts reported in the race for the U.S. House of Representatives' 4th Congressional District.

McClintock carried Madera County with 7,724 votes (68%) while Uppal received 3,531 votes (31%).

Madera County Board of Supervisors

Gary Svanda, 65, who has served on the Madera City Council for the past 10 years, and Madera businessman Rick Farinelli, 61, were separated by just eight votes in their race for District 3 supervisor when county elections employees went home for the night Tuesday.

With all 18 precincts reporting, Svanda had received 2,790 votes with Farinelli right behind with 2,782 votes.

The numbers are unofficial and hundreds of vote by mail ballots that were dropped off at county wide poling locations, as well as a number of provisional ballots, have yet to be counted.

The county election's division has 28 days from Nov. 8 to complete the official canvass of the results.

In the June primary , Svanda received 38.4% of the vote and Farinelli received 28.6%.

Svanda, a financial planner, said during his campaign that his top priorities was to stretch limited resources while balancing the county's budget.

Farinelli, who owns Fiber Packaging Systems in Madera, said during his campaign his priorities would be public safety, a leaner government and the privatizing of some county services. He also said he would encourage evening board meetings at least once a month so more working people could attend.

Svanda or Farinelli will succeed Ronn Dominici who did not seek reelection after 12 years on the board.

Voter turnout in Madera County was 61.1% as of midnight Tuesday.

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