With the initial deadline to file as a candidate in November for special districts in the rearview mirror, the Tuolumne Utilities District Board of Directors appears to have the most crowded field. And more could still join in.
According to the Tuolumne County Elections Office, nine candidates have completed their paperwork to get on the November ballot for four open TUD seats. However, because incumbent Barbara Balen did not complete her paperwork by the 5 p.m. deadline Friday, potential challengers still have until Wednesday to join the race.
According to the elections office, incumbents Bob Behee, Ron Ringen and Dennis Dahlin will seek re-election. Challengers so far include David Evans, Jim Grinnell, John Maciel, Michael Sarno, Kent Johnson and David Axelrod. Mike Suess has also initiated his paperwork but has not completed it so far.
Ringen and Dahlin are looking to continue after less than a year on the board, as they were appointed to replace Joe Day and Raph Retherford who had both resigned within the past year. Behee is seeking another full term on the board.
“This is a race,” said Deborah Russell, the county’s auditor, controller and registrar of voters.
The election follows an eventful year for TUD, which saw a plan to increase water rates rejected by the board late last year after pushback from community members. The TUD board passed a less-steep rate increase in June.
The rate plans created rumblings about a possible recall election. Proponents of a recall have until Thursday to complete the process to force an election.
Friday was the deadline for candidates in about two dozen school and special districts to file for election. Though like TUD, would-be candidates have until Wednesday to file in several races because at least one incumbent did not file to run. Those districts include: Tuolumne County Board of Education Area 1, Big Oak Flat-Groveland Unified School District, Columbia Elementary School District, Curtis Creek School District, Jamestown Elementary School District, Sonora Union High School District Area 2, Twain Harte-Long Barn Union High School District, Groveland CSD, Tuolumne Fire and Tuolumne Sanitary.
Voters in a few more districts will get to choose between incumbents and challengers, as the races for Summerville Union High School District, Soulsbyville Elementary School District, Summerville Elementary School District, Columbia Fire and Strawberry Fire closed on Friday with the deadline.
Tuolumne County Board of Education areas 2-5, Belleview School District, Sonora Elementary School District, Sonora Union High School District Area 1, Twain Harte CSD, Tuolumne Parks and Recreation District, Jamestown Fire, Mi-Wuk Sugar Pine Fire and Jamestown Sanitary will not appear on the November ballot because only the incumbents completed the required paperwork.