The filing period closed at 5 p.m. Aug. 7 on hotly contested municipal and school board elections in Calexico and El Centro and normally staid contests in Imperial and Holtville are seeing new challengers enter the fray, all according to preliminary reports that will be more settled after all candidates are qualified come Aug. 10.
Election Day is Nov. 3, but vote-by-mail ballots can be sent in starting Oct. 5.
The largest municipal election is playing out in Calexico, where four seats on the five-person City Council are up for grabs. All four incumbents have filed for re-election, Bill Hodge, Lewis Pacheco, Morris Reisen and Camilo Garcia.
Going up against the four council members will be challengers Michael Christopher Mayne, a former city planning commissioner, former police officer and current Calexico Wellness Center board member Javier Moreno, current Heffernan Memorial Healthcare District Trustee Gloria Romo, former council member and mayor Joong Kim, resident Michael Anthony Jeffers, and Raul Ureña, a founding member of the Imperial Valley Equity and Justice Coalition.
Three full four-year terms are available and one short-term, two-year seat is available. Although it wasn’t immediately known who would be running for which seat — something that has to be designated at the time of qualification — incumbent Garcia, who now occupies the two-year seat, has filed for a four-year seat, and Reisen, who was appointed to a four-year seat, has filed for the two-year seat.
Information on the Calexico council race was based off updates from City Clerk Gabriela Garcia as of the afternoon of Aug. 6. Garcia said the county election department’s computer system went down late this evening and that she could not verify all candidates as of 8 p.m. Aug. 7. She did not expect to get back to this newspaper until Aug. 10 and would not say whether any names had been added to or removed from the race.
Meanwhile, in El Centro, three seats are up for election on the City Council, with incumbents Edgard Garcia, Efrain Silva and Jason Jackson all returning to defend their places on the dais. They will be challenged by Martha Cardenas-Singh, Alyssa Ibarra-Gonzales, Silvia Marroquin, and Sonia Carter.
In Holtville, the three available seats on the council held by James Predmore, Virginia Ward, and Mike Pacheco will see a single challenger in Murray Anderson, the girls’ varsity basketball coach at Holtville High School and a product of Holtville schools who moved back to the community a few years ago.
On the Imperial City Council, incumbent council member Robert Amparano and Mayor Darrell Pechtl, who hold the only seats available, will be pitted against Imperial Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Susan Paradis and citizen Katie Burnworth.
With two seats up for election, Calexico Unified School District Board of Trustees incumbents Michael Castillo and Enrique “Kiki” Alvarado will defend their seats against business owner Margarita Magallanes.
In Imperial, two seats are available, and Imperial Unified School District board incumbents David Ross and Victor Manuel Lopez have qualified for re-election. Teacher and parent Liliana Cordova Duran also qualified to challenge.
No election will be needed in Holtville for the school district board, as incumbents Matthew Michael Hester and Jared Adam Garewal look to run unopposed.
In El Centro, however, both the high school and elementary school boards will see much action this election season.
There are four seats open for election on the Central Union High School District board, three full-term seats and one two-year seat. Because an incumbent has not yet returned paperwork, the filing period on a four-year seat will extend to Aug. 12, according to a county election official.
So far, in the full-term race, incumbents Jacinto Cruz Jimenez and Diahna Garcia-Ruiz have filed for re-election and challengers Maria Laura Peinado and Eric Leonard Rodriguez have qualified. Incumbent and board President Ryan D. Childers will not be filing for re-election.
Childers is in a run-off election Nov. 3 against J.B. Hamby for the Division 2 seat on the Imperial Irrigation District Board of Directors. Also, IID Division 4 Director Erik Ortega is in a run-off with Calexico resident Javier Gonzalez.
The race is closed for the short-term Central Union High district seat, which is held by appointed incumbent Steven Martin Walker. Walker has filed for the election and so has Carlos Ramirez Hernandez.
The El Centro Elementary School District board has three seats available and all three trustees have filed to defend: Michael Ray Minnix, Patricia Lou Dunnam, and Charles R. “Chuck” Fisher. They will be challenged by school psychologist Frances Armenta Terrazas and elementary teacher Andrew Arevalo.
The race to fill three seats on Calexico’s Heffernan Memorial Healthcare District Board of Trustees will extend to Aug. 12, as incumbent Gloria Romo is running for Calexico City Council. Incumbents Rodolfo Valdez and Hector Martinez have both filed for re-election and they will be challenged by Raul Ureña.
There are several other city council, school board and special district races up for election Nov. 3. The above races are those that will be covered by the Calexico Chronicle/Holtville Tribune/Imperial Valley Weekly.
A complete list of qualified races won’t be posted by the county elections department until Aug. 10.