Despite redistricting, Kern supervisors hold onto seats during election

    FILE - The Kern County Board of Supervisors meets Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016. (KBAK/KBFX file photo)

    DELANO, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) – Three of five seats on the Kern County Board of Supervisors were up for election during Tuesday’s midterm.

    The incumbents retained all three seats.

    The highest-profile contest was in District 4, which underwent the most drastic changes as a result of a recent lawsuit settlement.

    Kern County and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund reached an agreement on a new supervisorial district map earlier this year.

    MALDEF had brought a lawsuit against the county, claiming the old district map violated the U.S. Voting Rights Act and diluted the Latino vote.

    The result was a redrawn supervisorial district map.

    Due to the redistricting, District 4 Supervisor David Couch faced re-election two years early.

    "You see Delano as like a town full of minorities," Matthew Deguia, a Delano resident, said. Eager to have a Latina represent his district, he voted for Grace Vallejo.

    But, Couch earned 47 percent of the vote and held off challengers Vallejo and Jose Gonzalez.

    Dolores Huerta, who advocated for redistricting and supported Vallejo's campaign, said she and other Latino community leaders urged Gonzalez not to run, concerned he would split the votes and allow Couch to win.

    "That's exactly what happened," Huerta said. "Mr. Gonzalez owns the victory of Mr. Couch."

    Gonzalez rejects that argument.

    "The community members that voted for me voted because they weren't happy with the choices they had," Gonzalez said, adding that one cannot assume his 18.09 percent of the vote would have gone to Vallejo.

    Both Huerta and Gonzalez shared that they're optimistic for the 2020 election.

    "Looking forward to the future, we will see the day where we have true Latino representation on the board of supervisors," Huerta said.

    In District 2, Zack Scrivner held his seat with 43 percent of the vote against three challengers: Whitney Weddell, Dalmas "Dal" Bunn and Michael Biglay.

    In District 3, Mike Maggard earned 54 percent of the vote, holding off challenger and firefighter Jeff Heinle.

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