Who will win Madera County's District 5 supervisor race? Votes are still being counted

Three seats on the Madera County Board of Supervisors were up for re-election Tuesday.
Three seats on the Madera County Board of Supervisors were up for re-election Tuesday. THE FRESNO BEE

The Madera County race for District 5 supervisor still doesn’t have an official winner – but it’s leaning incumbent Tom Wheeler’s way.

Pearl Carlotto, senior deputy clerk-recorder, said Friday, June 8 that a winner in the June 5 primary won’t be known in the race until all votes are counted and one candidate comes out with more than 50 percent of the vote. It was unclear how many ballots were still left to be counted, but an additional 3,989 ballots were processed Friday by the clerk’s office. A total of 54,815 voters are registered in Madera County.

The next update of vote count was expected as soon as June 13 but no later than June 15. Carlotto said the Madera County Clerk-Recorder’s office has 30 days from election day to finalize results.

Wheeler led with 50.7 percent of the vote with the latest votes counted. Marc Sobel was behind with 45.6 percent. Nokomis Hernandez got 3.5 percent of the vote.

Tom Wheeler

On Saturday, Wheeler was picking up campaign signs from his eastern Madera County district. He was glad the campaign was over and remained confident that any votes left to count would swing him into victory. But even with a 5 percentage point advantage over Sobel, Wheeler stopped short of calling himself winner and instead opted to wait until votes are official.

“I’m here to serve (District 5 residents) for another four years,” Wheeler said. “I’m not saying I’m a winner yet, because I’m not.”

Wheeler was first elected to District 5 in 2006 and took office in January 2007. If allowed a fourth term, Wheeler said his priority will continue being public safety. He spoke Saturday about plans to provide more urgent-care options for areas like Oakhurst and seeking more fire protection in his district.

Sobel did not return calls seeking comment.

In District 2, David Rogers was re-elected and captured 64 percent of the vote by the time Friday’s numbers were released. Brett Frazier was not challenged in District 1.

Turnout was at 40 percent, according to the unofficial numbers by the clerk-recorder’s office provided Friday.

This year Madera County was among several counties in the state that operated elections under the California Voter’s Choice Act, which aimed to make voting easier by centralizing voting locations and encouraging voters to mail their ballots. Carlotto reported no issues under the new system and said June 5 voting went “smoothly.”

Cresencio Rodriguez-Delgado: 559-441-6304, @cres_guez