Merced County Times Newspaper
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Multiple candidates vying for open seat in Superior Court



Here’s an election update for those getting interested in the Election 2024 season that’s heating up as the March 5 primary gets closer.

This Friday, Dec. 8, is the deadline for candidates who have pulled papers but still need to return documents, take an oath and pay that all important filing fee to get on the ballot. If there’s no incumbent in any particular race; however, then that deadline is extended to Dec. 13.

Speaking of no incumbent, that’s the case for a seat that’s open on the Merced County Superior Court. Three new judicial candidates who have completed paperwork were listed in the contest by the Registrar of Voters. According to Times sources, it’s been decades since there’s been an open Superior Court seat with multiple candidates and no incumbent. Judge David Hood left the seat open in October when he was appointed by the governor to serve in Stanislaus County Supeior Court.

The Times has already written about one hopeful in the race who has been campaigning for a few months. Livingston native Monika Saini-Donabed was the first to get her name out there. She is a former prosecutor and court researcher. For the seven years, she has been working as a staff attorney for the Merced County Superior Court, researching and assisting judges. Due to a shortage of local judges, Saini-Donabed said she has also served as a judge pro-tem, stepping into the role for small claims and traffic cases.

Regina Adams is another local woman vying for the position. Adams, 38, grew up in Merced and attended local schools before going off to a major university and earning a law degree. She has worked in private practice in recent years, and has served the county’s Public Defender’s office by contract when needed.

A third name for the Supeior Court seat is Carlos Dammeier. The Times was not able to contact Mr. Dammeir, but he is listed as a state administrative law judge for the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board. According to his Linkedin page online he was previously practicing law at his own firm in Rancho Cucamonga. According to Ballotpedia, Dammeier is a former candidate for the San Bernardino County Superior Court in California. He ran among four candidates in the primary election of 2016, but was unsuccessful in the attempt.

New Face Enters

State Assembly Race

• Looks like District 27 Assemblywoman Esmeralda Soria will face a contender in the primary. Joanna Garcia Rose is an Atwater resident and she is listed as a fraud auditor and a mother. She graduated from Fresno State with a degree in agricultural business and has a background in farming.

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