The 21st Assembly District contest all but certainly will be a two-man race between qualified candidates, but that won’t be official until the Merced County registrar’s office verifies write-in votes later this week.
Incumbent Adam Gray, D-Merced, can expect to face Republican challenger Jack Mobley, who filed to be an official write-in candidate late in the primary race.
Because there are only two qualified candidates, it will take only one write-in vote for Mobley to make it official. With 204 of the 281 precincts reporting from Merced County and part of Stanislaus County, there were more than 1,900 write-in votes at press time. The registrar’s office will not verify the names written in on each ballot until later in the week.
As of press time, Gray, the only name on the ballot, had received 93 percent of the vote in the district. “There are party voters, and to get all those votes in support of me, I think is a good sign,” Gray said.
The incumbent has been in the seat since 2012, the last time the two candidates faced off. That race was decided by a double-digit margin in Gray’s favor.
Gray said he stands behind his record in office and pointed to the community support he’s received, obtaining about 2,500 signatures to place his name on the ballot. He said he wants to work to get the water bond he introduced in April onto the November ballot.
The bond would increase water storage.
Mobley, who owns a janitorial service, said he expects support from state party leaders to carry him through the finish line, support he did not get during his campaign two years ago. He said he was encouraged by the numbers, because he’s been in the race for only two weeks.
Though the write-ins are not official, many of these votes were likely for him, he said. “I think that’s huge, I think it was a huge night for me,” he said.
He said water will be a big issue in the race, pointing to Gray’s water bond. He said, however, that leaders in Sacramento have been reactionary and should have been drawing up new water storage plans decades ago.
Mobley said he will hit the campaign trail hard from here. “I think this definitely is a winnable seat.”
Sun-Star staff writer Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.