The races for Turlock City Council have been set, and these historic elections will each have candidates going head to head this November.
The most unusual but expected race is between Councilman Steven Nascimento and Councilwoman Amy Bublak. Councilwoman Bublak was the only Councilmember displaced by the passage of Measure A, which set up the by-district elections. With her recent move in into District 4 earlier in the year, Councilwoman Bublak and Councilman Nascimento have been expected to compete for the opportunity to represent District 4 on the City Council.
However, Donald Babadalir, who unsuccessfully ran for City Council in 2014, has returned for this election as the third contender and a possible grassroots darkhorse against two incumbent Council heavyweights. Babadalir has set himself up as the anti-establishment candidate for this historic election.
While both Councilmembers Bublak and Nascimento have signed the Campaign Contribution Pledge, Babadalir has declined the pledge. While submitting papers for his nomination, Babadalir has noted that his grassroots campaign isn’t expecting to raise more than $1,000. He has also chosen not to accept the Voluntary Code of Fair Campaign Practices.
The race for District 2 was close to being a no contest for candidate Gil Esquer. Although Jaime Franco announced his intention to run for City Council District 2, Esquer was the only District 2 candidate to have submitted his nomination papers. However, as the deadline neared, Franco returned to City Hall submitting his nomination papers just under the wire of the deadline.
In spirit, these two grassroots contenders personify the intent of Measure A by providing the local candidates an opportunity to better represent their part of town. Both Esquer, a born and raised Turlock local, and Franco, a Turlock resident for 40 years, are looking to provide a voice for the residents of District 2.
“I’m running for City Council because I think it’s going to be a historic election this year. This is the very first time that Turlock will be having district wide elections… I’ve been born and raised pretty much in District 2,” Esquer told TurlockCityNews.com.
“I think I know the people and some of the issues, and I think it’s time for District 2 to have a voice in the City Council.”
Jaime Franco is leading in with working to be the voice of the westside.
“The south-west part of Turlock has been not represented and mostly kind of neglected for the past, probably 40 years,” said Franco.
“I kind of had a dream that someday maybe there would be an opportunity to do something for the community…,” said Franco, when they put the City into districts, “that was an opportunity for me to run for City Council to obtain the opportunity to represent that part of town.”
This historic election has allowed the grassroots contenders to have a real opportunity to represent their communities and their City.
With Esquer opting to decline the Campaign Contribution Pledge, Franco is the only grassroots contender in this election to have signed the pledge. Both candidates have accepted the Voluntary Code of Fair Campaign Practices.
After the November elections, Turlock will have at least one new Councilman heading to the Council chambers, and potentially one or both Incumbent Councilmembers leaving the Council.
This year’s election will take place on Nov. 8 and stands to change the complexion of the Turlock City Council.