Cassandra Jenecke

Tuolumne County District Attorney Cassandra Jenecke holds the paperwork she got from the Elections Office on Monday to launch her campaign for the June 7 primary election.

Tuolumne County District Attorney Cassandra Jenecke is the latest incumbent to announce plans for the June 7 primary election, as most prospective candidates could begin pulling papers on Monday that are typically among the first steps in an official run for local public office.

In a new release Monday morning, Jenecke announced she has launched her campaign for a new four-year term as district attorney, after being appointed to the position by the county Board of Supervisors last March.

“During my time as DA, we have laid a significant foundation that will carry us well into the future,” she said in the release. “We shall continue to serve our community by seeking justice, protecting the rights of crime survivors, and preventing recidivism through the vigorous, equitable, and ethical application of the law.”

Jenecke served as a deputy DA for six years before she was appointed to the usually elected position to serve out the remaining two years on the term of her predecessor, Laura Krieg, who was elected in March 2020 to serve as a judge for the Tuolumne County Superior Court.

The county Board of Supervisors unanimously appointed Jenecke on March 19 at the end of nearly five hours of public interviews with her and three other finalists for the position.

Some of Jenecke’s stated goals for the DA’s Office if she’s elected to a full four-year term include receiving accreditation for the Sunshine Child Advocacy Center and finding long-term funding for it; shifting to paperless filing and digital discovery; applying for additional grant funding focused on issues such as drunk driving, domestic violence, commercial theft and vulnerable victims; increase employee retention and job satisfaction through vulnerability-based and burnout-informed management; and establishing alternate programs for people accused of misdemeanors, collaborative courts to help veterans and the homeless, and no-cost clinics for expunging past criminal records.

Monday was the first day that candidates for most offices up for grabs on June 7 could begin pulling papers from the county Elections Office to begin gathering signatures that reduce or eliminate the amount of a filing fee they would otherwise have to pay to get their names on the primary ballot.

The first day that prospective candidates for two seats on the county Board of Supervisors can  begin pulling the same papers is Jan. 11, due to the board not approving new boundaries for districts after the 2020 census until Dec. 14. 

Both groups of candidates must file the signatures they collect by Feb. 9 for them to count against the filing fee, then must file an official declaration of candidacy and collect the appropriate amount of nomination signatures between Feb. 14 and March 11 to appear on the ballot.

Robbie Bergstrom, deputy county clerk, said Jenecke was among the incumbents who had already pulled papers for collecting signatures in-lieu of the filing fee as of about 3 p.m. Monday, as well as county Sheriff Bill Pooley, Treasurer-Tax Collector Justin Birtwhistle, and Assessor-Recorder Kaenan Whitman.

Pooley, who announced his bid for reelection last month, and Birtwhistle are currently serving out the final year of their first terms, while Whitman is serving out his second.

Other county-wide offices that will be on the ballot are auditor-controller, currently held by Debi Bautista, and superintendent of schools, currently held by Cathy Parker. 

County supervisors Ryan Campbell and Anaiah Kirk have also announced their intentions to each run for a second term representing districts 2 and 3, respectively, though only voters who live in those districts will be able to vote in those races.

Bergstrom said no challengers for any of the open seats have pulled papers for collecting signatures in-lieu of paying a filing fee, which ranges from $519.58 for county supervisor to $1,834.47 for district attorney.

Each valid signature will reduce the amount of the filing fee by a certain amount, unless enough are collected to cover the entire fee.

Two seats on the Sonora City Council that are currently held by incumbents Jim Garaventa and Colette Such will also be on the June 7 ballot. However, there is no filing fee for that race. 

Contact Alex MacLean at amaclean@uniondemocrat.com or (209) 588-4541.