Turlock Campaign Wrap Up

By Jeff Hillberg

With voting starting this morning, this year’s city council race was quite mild compared with years past. There were no illicit robo-calls, no billboards on highway 99, and not as much money spent as in years past.  Here are the high and low points of the last three months:

Shawn Barlow tragically passed away on August 5th. He was 40 years old and considered to be one of the favorites early in the race. The ballots were printed before he passed and if he were to win a seat the new council could vote to hold a special election or appoint someone to the seat.
Pat Noda is 90 years old and Jeremy Rocha is 23.
The Turlock Firefighter’s PAC spent nearly $8,500 supporting Bill DeHart.
The Turlock Chamber of Commerce PAC spent money on local candidates for the first time in their history. They donated money to Forrest White and Bill DeHart, as well as sent a mailer out on their behalf.
Monte Vista Crossing’s developer, Mark Hall, did not have a presence in this election. He initially gave Shawn Barlow $5,000 but that was returned after Barlow passed.
The total amount of money spent was significantly less than 2006 and 2008.
Fransen and DeHart were the only two candidates reported to send out a mailer on their own behalf.
The Turlock Auto Plaza lighted sign was used by both White and DeHart to advertise at a value of $1,000.
There were very few letters in support of candidates published in the local newspapers.
Lavelle, Fransen, and White all had Facebook pages dedicated to their campaigns.
Overall I thought this election was very low key, there were no dirty tricks. One candidate really wanted information published on this site going as far as dropping off a packet of information on DJ Fransen’s doorstep in the dead of night. I declined to publish the information as it had been disclosed in public prior and seemed somewhat irrelevant. 
It was refreshing to see most of the candidates work really hard and not simply rely on who could raise the most cash, which I think all of the candidates would agree is the worst part of running for office.
Best of luck to all of the candidates today.
Jeff Hillberg

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