BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — It’s been a highly-anticipated question since 3rd District Supervisor Mike Maggard announced his retirement early this year — who will fill the seat on the Board he’s held for over 15 years?
After delayed candidacy announcements and a switch between races, we now know who will be on the General Election ballot for the 3rd District Supervisor race — Maggard’s Chief of Staff Jeff Flores and retired CHP Assistant Chief Brian Smith.
“I just like to say thank you to all my supporters, to the community,” Flores said.
“It’s very exciting and we’re looking forward to the next phase now,” Smith said.
Flores edged out Smith in the primary, garnering 40% of the vote to Smith’s 33%. But Republican and Democratic analysts Cathy Abernathy and Neel Sannappa say an important number heading into November could be from another candidate entirely — the 26% brought in by Louis Gill.
“I presume, given he was the one Democrat in the race, that he has a chunk of Democrat voters,” Abernathy said.
Sannappa added which Republican candidate picks up these votes could be key in the General. “Who is going to be the one that wants to really capture the the Democratic vote now that the Democrats don’t have someone from their party in the race anymore,” he said.
Analysts say it’s an open question. Sannappa noted Flores has a decent coalition of support from Democrats.
“Jeff Flores having a Latino surname, I think is going to play well with with some Democrats,” Sannappa said.
But Smith, he says, likely has a broad network through his law enforcement background. Smith pointed this out when asked about his message to Gill voters heading into November.
“When I went to handle people that needed help on the streets, people who were in car accidents, people who said in their community they weren’t getting proper representation — I didn’t ask if you were Republican or Democrat.”
When asked about his message, Flores highlighted his support from voters as a trustee on Kern’s High School district.
“I’m a registered Republican, but I serve in a majority Democrat district. And so, you know, the voters have reelected me three times, because that’s the type of paradigm that I bring that I represent everybody.”
An endorsement from Gill could help swing his voters to Flores or Smith, but so far Gill told us he hasn’t endorsed anyone and likely will not.