Tuolumne County Superintendent of Schools Margie Bulkin holds a more than 2,000-vote lead over retired educator Denise Springer in the Yosemite Community College District Trustee Area 1 election and will win a seat on the board if the results hold.
“I’m excited about a number of things, but primarily to contribute to the board’s function as a team, because I will be one of seven,” Bulkin said.
Springer, 63, of Sonora, said she contacted Bulkin Tuesday morning to concede the race in an email.
“For me, it was just an incredible experience,” Springer said. “I admire and respect her, and I think they made the right decision, to be honest with you.”
The Yosemite Community College District Trustee Area 1 position was vacated by Dr. Lynn Martin. The Trustee Area 1 comprises most of Tuolumne County; Angels Camp, Arnold and Murphys in Calaveras County, the community of Hickman in eastern Stanislaus County and a small portion of eastern San Joaquin County.
The entire district covers about 4,500 square miles and includes all of Tuolumne and Stanislaus counties and portions of Calaveras, Merced, San Joaquin and Santa Clara counties.
Within the Trustee Area I region, Bulkin garnered a total of 10,788 votes, and Denise Springer received 8,747 votes.
Tuolumne County, as the largest geographic portion of the trustee area, comprised more than half of the total votes casted for the position and solidified Bulkin’s wide margin over Springer.
Bulkin earned 6,978 votes, or 56.04 percent, and Springer earned 5,370 votes, or 43.13 percent. There were 103 write in votes, or 0.83 percent.
Calaveras County, where Bulkin earned a more narrow margin on her lead, comprised about a quarter of the vote total.
Bulkin earned 2,785 votes, or 54.48 percent, and Springer earned 2,292 votes or 44.84 percent. There were 35 write-in votes, or 0.68 percent.
Springer earned a slight lead in vote totals from Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties, but it was far from enough to overcome Bulkin’s lead in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties.
In Stanislaus County, Bulkin earned 1,004 votes, or 48.18 percent, and Springer earned 1,055 votes, or 50.62 percent. There were 25 write-in votes, or 1.2 percent.
In San Joaquin County, Bulkin earned 21 votes, or 41.18 percent, and Springer earned 30 votes, or 58.82 percent.
Bulkin acknowledged that, despite Springer’s concession, there were still thousands of untallied ballots in all four counties. She had not received an official recognition of winning the election, she said.
Bulkin’s apparent election comes at a moment of great transition for the district board, with four of seven seats up for election in 2018. The changing constitution of the board may have a crucial influence on the most pressing crisis facing the district — a potential strike by the teachers union, the Yosemite Faculty Association.
In the position, Bulkin said she would be committed to “promoting the public good.”
“That’s what most people want, and I do too, and there’s a lot going on and I want to advocate for the district in my community,” she said. “I want to continue to advocate for the great possibilities for what Columbia College offers to the students of our county.”
Bulkin said she will stay on in her position as Tuolumne County Superintendent of Schools until Jan. 4. Cathy Parker, the Tuolumne County Superintendent of Schools-elect who ran unopposed in the June 5 primary, will be sworn in on Jan. 7
Springer said the election may spur her to seek other avenues of political involvement.
“I’m looking for other ways to serve the community, local and larger,” she said.
Springer went to Diablo Valley College in Pleasanton through its re-entry program at age 31, where she went on to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and her teaching credential from Fresno State. Springer taught at Don Pedro High School in La Grange and Oakdale High School during her career, she said.
Contact Giuseppe Ricapito at (209) 588-4526 or firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow him on Twitter @gsepinsonora.