Squeeze in, folks. It's going to be a crowded election.
Eight people have already lined up to run in the Merced County Board of Supervisors election on June 5. There's been no indication that John Pedrozo, Hub Walsh and Deidre Kelsey are getting nervous, but with a month left in the filing period, the three races are already promising to provide a tough fight for the incumbents.
In the District 1 race, Pedrozo faces competition from former Livingston mayor Daniel Varela, Merced County Sheriff's Sgt. James Pacheco, and Peggi Gioletti. District 1 represents South Merced, Livingston, Planada and Le Grand.
District 2, which covers the bulk of the city of Merced, features a rematch between Walsh and Casey Steed, an electrical contractor who finished fourth in the five-way 2008 race.
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Kelsey, meanwhile, is hoping to secure a fifth term representing Northeast Merced County voters in District 4, but she faces a challenge from political newcomer Clayton Azevedo.
It's hard to say if voters will be as angry in June as they were in November (The Merced City Council race, you'll recall, saw 13 candidates seeking four seats, and only one incumbent held onto his seat) but it's clear based on the number of candidates so far that the word "change" will remain a buzzword this time around. There's more than a month before the March 9 filing deadline, so we could see the candidate pool grow even more.
It's not just the supes who are packed in like sardines on the June ballots. The four-way race for California State Assembly District 21 includes Democrats Adam Gray and Lesa Rasmussen, who started running for election last year, and Republican candidate Jack Mobley, who has waged at least two previous campaigns for a State Assembly seat. Robert R. Sellers has also pulled papers.
There are three so-far-uncontested judgeships with Brian McCabe, Mark Bacciarini and Hugh Flanagan up for re-election. It's the first election for Bacciarini, who was appointed to the Merced County Superior Court bench by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2010.