Pedrozo, Pareira cruising toward win; challenger Pacheco holds sizable lead

 

By BRITTANY MILLER & JONATHAN WHITAKER

If your last name begins with a “P,” and you’re running for a seat on the Merced County Board of Supervisors, then you’re feeling pretty good after witnessing the Primary Election results on Tuesday night.

  • Josh Pedrozo, the incumbent District 2 supervisor, garnered 3,053 votes, or 69.96 percent of the tally so far, compared to 1,286 votes, or 29.4 percent, that went to his challenger Annissa Fragoso.
  • Lloyd Pareira, the incumbent District 4 supervisor, was ahead with 2,248 votes, or 62.60 percent, compared to challengers Dennis Brazil, with 671 votes, or 18.69 percent; and Jim Soria with 662, or 18.43 percent.
  • And Jim Pacheco, a challenger for the District 1 seat, was strongly outpacing incumbent Supervisor Rodrigo Espinosa. Pacheco was holding onto 1,244 votes, or 54.11 percent, on Wednesday morning, compared to 513 votes, or 22.3 percent, for Espinosa. Two other challengers, Maria Soto (16.6 percent) and Sonia Alshami (6.8 percent) were falling short of what would be needed to make it into a possible two-candidate runoff in November.

 

Pedrozo ‘proud to serve’

“I’m still feeling cautiously optimistic until everything comes back,” Pedrozo said of his Dist. 2 race. “With those first numbers coming in though I’m feeling a lot better. With 70 percent in support right now is a very good sign. It just goes to show that the work I’ve done for Merced County and District 2 hasn’t gone unnoticed. So I’m very happy about that, and I’m proud to continue, if it holds up, to serve the people of District 2 and Merced County.

“I think it’s just going to continue to grow, and it just goes to show you that I’m working really hard for Merced County, I’m working really hard for District 2, and the ag industry, and to make Merced County the best of the 58 counties in the state of California.”

District 2 includes most of the City of Merced, along with the UC Merced campus. With a win, Supervisor Pedrozo will be headed to a second term in office.

The supervisor thanked his supporters who attended an event at Five Ten Bistro in downtown Merced. He noted that he “wouldn’t have been able to do this without my wife.”

Meanwhile, the supervisor’s only challenger, insurance agent Annissa Fragoso, spoke graciously about her opponent and the opportunity to run despite the numbers on Election Night.

She stated that she has a lot of respect for Pedrozo, going so far as to reach out and thank the current supervisor for helping to maintain a positive campaign.

“I want voters to know that regardless of what happens tonight this has still been a win for us,” Fragoso told supporters who gathered at her office.

She said her team worked hard to ensure District 2 residents had a good understanding of the issues and challenges that are going on in the community.

 

Pareira close to third term

District 4 Supervisor Lloyd Pareira celebrated with supporters who packed the house at the Great American Grill in Hilmar on Tuesday night.

“I know there are a lot more votes to be counted, but if it stays similar, it looks like we will avoid a runoff,” he told the Times. “I’m hopeful. Usually the first dump of votes is pretty indicative of what’s going to happen.”

Pareira said the crowd erupted in cheers when the results came in. “It’s fun. It’s special. It’s also reaffirming. … I’m really thankful for the groundswell of support from people who appreciate the work we are doing.”

With a win, Pareira would be headed to his third term in office. His District 4 seat represents the unincorporated areas of Snelling, Winton, Ballico, Cressey, Delhi, Stevinson, Hilmar, and the small town of Gustine.

There are two challengers in District 4 race: Dennis Brazil, a former mayor of Gustine who also ran for State Senate in 2018; and Jim Soria, a former mayor of Livingston, who also ran for sheriff in 2014.

 

Pacheco in nice spot

Jim Pacheco, the challenger for the District 1 seat on the Board of Supervisors, was surrounded by well-wishers on Tuesday night at Club Mercedes in south Merced.

“We’re excited,” he told the Times. “We hope it keeps trending our way. We’ve been working hard to get here.”

Pacheco appeared surprised with the night’s tally.

“I was thinking it would be a little bit closer,” he said. “It was unexpected, and we’re very excited about it.”

District Attorney Nicole Silveira was at the party, saying “Jim is the best candidate for District 1. I’m so happy to support him, and so happy with these first returns.”

Friend, Ellen Burk, chimed in: “He’s honorable. He believes in justice. … I have known him for so many years, and he’s a stand-up guy. He will never let you down. He’s amazing.”

If Pacheco, a retired Sheriff’s sergeant, stays above 50 percent of the vote, he will win the District 1 seat outright. However, incumbent Supervisor Rodrigo Espinosa, currently in second place with 22 percent of the vote, could still make it into a runoff election if the numbers change in the coming days.

Supervisor Espinosa was with supporters at Club Morelos in south Merced on Tuesday night.

He told the Times: “The farmers tend to vote first, but I think it will come out closer. Of course I want to win right now, but I think it’s going to come to a run-off.”

“I think in November it’ll be easier for me. … People are fed up with politics right now. … We’re going to win, either today or November.”

The District 1 seat represents the communities of Livingston, south Merced, El Nido, Le Grand, Planada and Santa Nella.

Two other candidates are also in the primary race. Maria Soto is an educator who currently sits on the Livingston City Council. Sonia Alshami is a business owner who ran against Espinosa in 2020.

ElectionsMercedMerced CountyMerced County Board of Supervisors
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