What you need to know for Kern County’s 2018 Elections


The 2018 election cycle is here and with a few exceptions, candidates across the county and state had to file their declaration of candidacy by Friday afternoon at five.

We’ve heard the rhetoric and we’ve seen them file. And it’s all in anticipation of 2018’s elections. 

Here are local races to look out for:

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Congressman David Valadao are up for reelection.

McCarthy facing challenges from  a former opponent Wendy Reed and Tatiana Matta, who has been endorsed by the California Democratic Party.

But the biggest recent headline of the two congressional races came when Emilio Huerta–son of labor rights icon Dolores Huerta–dropped out of his bid against Congressman Valadao. 

Fresno engineer TJ Cox has since declared his candidacy in that race.

Three of Kern’s state legislators are running for re-election this year, while former State Assemblymember Shannon Grove hopes to takeover for State Senator Jean Fuller, who is term limited.

Meanwhile Kern County official races are in full swing.

Sheriff Donny Youngblood–who has been in office since 2007 and is seeking his fourth term–is fending off a challenge from Chief Deputy Justin Fleeman.

District Attorney Lisa Green is retiring, paving the way for a battle between Assistant District Attorney Scott Spielman and Supervising District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer. 

Supervisors Mike Maggard and Zack Scrivner are up for reelection this year as well.

Maggard is protecting his seat from Bakersfield Fire Captain Jeff Heinle.

“I would rather in my life fail at doing something epic than succeed at nothing,” said Heinle after filing to run against Maggard.

And Scrivner will be defending his office from teacher and LGBT activist Whitney Weddell among others. 

If any of these non-partisan county candidates win more than 50% of the vote in June, the race is over. But if no candidate can claim a majority, then a run-off between the top two candidates will happen in November’s general election.

But after a federal judge ruled Kern County’s supervisor maps violate the Voting Rights Act, Maggard and Scrivner could end up running for different looking districts in one way or another by the end of this year. 

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