On Tuesday Nov. 4, Madera County voters cast their vote in one of the most heated races in Madera County's recent history electing Oakhurst attorney David Linn as the next Madera County District Attorney.In the final tally Linn received 11,887 votes (58.5%) to Keitz’ 8,362 votes (41.2%) with 66 votes (.3%) going to write-in candidates.
Although incumbent DA Michael Keitz raised close to $50,000 more in campaign cash contributions than Linn, who raised $31,950, it was not enough to overcome the early momentum Linn established with his aggressive campaign.
During his campaign Linn used the slogan “restore the public’s trust” based on several accusations against Keitz who Linn criticized for costing the county thousands of dollars in inter-department lawsuits including the suppression of the highly controversial Rowley report.
Linn celebrated his victory with family and political supporters at Crab Cakes Restaurant in Oakhurst following months of relentless campaigning and debating.
Linn said he felt it was time for a change and he was glad to see the voters agreed.
“We need someone that can deal with 21st Century problems with 21st century ideas,” Linn said. “I honestly believe with someone as smart as Mr. Varney and someone as smart as myself running law enforcement, we’ll be one of the smartest and well ran counties in the state.”
Linn said one of his first objectives will be to establish a district attorney investigators office in Oakhurst with the idea of getting the office more in touch with the criminal element in Eastern Madera County.
“I am going to be working diligently to establish a DA investigators office in Oakhurst so we can get on top of crimes right away rather than waiting weeks to put something on the DA’s desk,” Linn said.
This will be the first time in more than 100 years the office of Madera County District Attorney will be held by an Oakhurst resident.
Keitz ran his campaign on the slogan “because...public safety matters” a relied heavily on his experience in the district attorney’s office to win the election.
Keitz, who was appointed in 2009 and won his first election in 2010, will finish his term in December and will be replaced when Linn is sworn in by the Madera County Supervisors on January 6.
In a released statement Keitz said he felt privileged to serve as Madera County District Attorney and plans to serve out the remainder of his term until Linn takes over in January.
"For the past six years, it has been an honor to serve as the District Attorney of Madera County. During that time prosecuting criminals and keeping Madera County safe has been my highest priority," Keitz said. "Last night, the voters chose a new District Attorney and I respect their decision. I am proud of the campaign I ran: clean and focused on the issues. I am also incredibly grateful for the support received from my campaign team, my friends, and most importantly my family."
On Tuesday, voters were also faced with the difficult decision of deciding who would replace current four-term sheriff John Anderson who is retiring at the end of this term.
In a race between two highly qualified candidates numbers mirrored that of the DA race with 11,827 (57.8%) votes going to current Chowchilla Police Chief Jay Varney and 8,576 votes (41.9%) going to current Undersheriff Michael Salvador. Twelve write-in votes accumulated 43 votes (.2%).
Unlike the District Attorney race the sheriff’s race was rather relaxed with each candidate saying they were willing to work alongside whoever was elected.
Varney will take office in January.
Additional election results are as follows:
* Tom McClintock received 5,294 votes (69.2%) for US Representative 4th District defeating Art Moore 2,352 (30.8%).
* Frank Bigelow receieved 16,120 votes (78%) and will serve another term as Member of the Assembly 5th District defeating Libertarian candidate Patrick Hogan 4,537 (22%).
* George Runner 14,036 (66.7%) will return to state board defeating Chris Parker 7,021 (33.3%).
* Madera County District 1 Supervisor: Brett Frazier 2,616 (59.8%) defeats Mona Diaz 1,738 (39.7%).
*Bobby Kahn 10,119 votes (59.5%) defeats Isabel Barreras 6,839 (40.2%) for Governing Board member to the State Center Community College District Board of Trustees.
* Governing Board Member Chawanakee, Area 2 incumbant Barbara Bigelow received 168 votes (51.7%) defeating Taylor Olney who received 157 votes (48.3%).
* Dalene Stephens won the Governing Board Member Bass Lake, Area 4 race with 267 votes (37.3%) defeating challengers Bill Freed with 255 (35.7%) and David Read who received 189 (26.4%).
Proposition results* Proposition 1 (water bond): Yes (68%) No (32%)
* Proposition 2 (rainy day budgeting): Yes (70.8%) No (29.2%)
* Proposition 45 (health insurance rate approval): No (60.7%) Yes (39.3%)
* Proposition 46 (raise medical malpractice): No (68%) Yes (32%)
* Proposition 47 (criminal sentencing reform): Yes (57.5%) No (42.5%)
* Proposition 48 (Mono Indian-state casino revenue-sharing compact): No (58.1%) Yes (41.9%)
For complete election results, see votemadera.com.