MERCED -- Races for local government positions are starting to take shape as time winds down toward the Nov. 6 general election.
Friday was the last day for candidates to file their paperwork to run, said Stacey Cotter, assistant registrar of voters for Merced County. For any office where an incumbent candidate didn't file to run, the filing window will be extended until 5 p.m. Wednesday.
On the Atwater City Council, incumbent Councilman Gary Frago and incumbent Mayor Pro Tem Joe Rivero have both filed to run, but should see some challengers.
Larry Bergman, a fire captain, and Daniel Hernandez, retired, are both running for the two open seats. Another potential candidate -- James Vineyard -- has pulled papers, but didn't file by Friday's deadline, according to the county elections department.
Atwater City Clerk Jeanna Del Real and City Treasurer James Heller will be running unopposed.
In Livingston, Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza will see opposition from candidate Mike Sperry Jr., a local business owner who claims the city hasn't been receptive toward small-business ventures.
Three seats on the council are up for re-election. Councilwoman Theresa Land filed to run, unlike her fellow council members, Margarita Aguilar and Frank Vierra.
Three challengers have filed to run, and four others pulled papers, but haven't yet filed.
City Clerk Tony Silva is running unopposed to retain his spot, and there are three candidates who'll be vying for the city treasurer title, including business owner Maria Ribeiro, substitute teacher and political blogger Katherine Schell and Warren Urnberg, who's retired from the Air Force.
There are two trustee spots open in the Atwater Elementary School District.
Joe Hoffar, a community policing officer with the Atwater Police Department, is running unopposed in District 2. William Scott Lee, a teacher, is running unopposed in District 3.
Reporter Mike North can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.