Races for Merced school board seats remained too close to call Tuesday night, with incumbents fighting to keep their seats on boards for Merced College, Merced City schools and Merced Union High School.
Preliminary results showed tight races for Merced College’s Area 2 seat held by Gary Arzamendi. Races for three seats on the Merced City Schools governing board were a mixed bag with both incumbents and challengers leading.
Merced College had two seats up for election with five candidates. Trustees serve a four-year term.
After the mail-in ballot count, Arzamendi led the Area 2 race by less than 1 percentage point against challenger Ernie Ochoa, a Realtor. With all precincts reporting results in Area 3, L. Carmen Ramirez led with 46 percent ahead of incumbent Wayne Hicks and challenger Alice Berger Contreras.
Merced City School District was a crowded race, with seven candidates vying for three seats.
The Area 1 race for the school district remained close with 100 percent of precincts reported. Only five votes separated incumbent Michael Crass and challenger Shane Smith, while Marian Navarro Ledesma trailed behind with 1,285 votes.
In Area 2, challenger Miguel Lopez pulled from behind to lead incumbent Gene Stamm with 1,410 votes.
Early results also showed retired school administrator Tom Parker leading UC Merced professor Emily Langdon at about 51.8 percent. The winner of the Area 4 race will replace longtime trustee Susan Walsh, who did not seek re-election.
The Area 4 seat in the Merced Union High School District was up for grabs since Dora Crane did not seek re-election. John Medearis led Marjorie Webster and John Medearis by 25 votes with 100 percent of precincts reporting. Area 4 encompasses northeast Merced and areas near UC Merced and out toward Snelling.
Area 3 trustee Phil Schiber, who drew one challenger, Julio Valadez, also fought to keep his seat with about 40 votes separating the two and only about 100 percent of precincts reporting at midnight.