Ken Vogel and Richard Dean are headed to a run-off in November to see who will represent San Joaquin County's 4th District 4 on the Board of Supervisors.
With all 109 precincts reporting, unofficial results show Vogel, a Linden-area farmer and former education trustee, with 5,471 votes (34.2 percent).
Dean, a management consultant and president of the Lodi Board of Education, has 5,348 votes (29.4 percent).
Lodi City Councilman John Beckman finished third with 4,315 votes (23.7 percent) and Dan Parises, a Lodi-area farmer and former county supervisor, finished fourth with 3,060 votes (16.8 percent).
Voter turnout was approximately 33 percent. Nearly 60,000 voters are registered within the supervisorial district, according to the California Secretary of State's office.
Vogel mounted a campaign focused on issues surrounding agriculture. He supports a greenbelt with limited development, as well as so-called "smart growth."
Law enforcement was perhaps the biggest campaign issue, with all candidates calling for an increase in the number of deputies on patrol in the north county area. The only differences on that issue among the hopefuls was how exactly to do so.
Dean proposed having "resident deputies" by hiring locals to serve their own communities. Beckman wanted to increase the number of deputies and expand the San Joaquin County Jail.
The candidates are vying for the seat of Supervisor Jack Sieglock, who will be termed out in December.
Dean stood out as best candidate, 46-year-old Cottage Bakery employee Ofelia Macias said.
"I think that he works well," she said in Spanish, noting that he appeared to have more political experience than others in the contest.
Dean's background also propelled him onto Yolanda Bernasconi's ballot.
"I think Dean is very involved in the community and his background is favorable," said Bernasconi, a human resources manager. "I hope that he does a good job if he's elected."
Jim Bacon said the Lodi Chamber of Commerce's historic endorsement of Dean, the chamber's first endorsement in 83 years, made the candidate stand out.
"They said he was the one who had the best understanding of business in the area," said Bacon, who works for a digital record company.
Frieda Trejo backed Parises.
"It seemed like he's a person whose down for everyone else," the 31-year-old housewife said. "He wants to help the people. He's not looking out for his own interest."
Leaving the polls set up at the Wine and Visitor's Center, Noorul Akbar said he gave his support to Beckman.
"He can reach us (different communities)," said Akbar, 48, an employee at Pacific Coast Producers. "And we can reach him."
Robert Czarniecki also voted for Beckman.
"I like the man, I like his family, I like what he stands for," said Czarniecki, a state employee.
Outside the polling place at Heritage Elementary School, children jumped around in a bounce house while their parents registered to vote or learned about the political process at "Party at the Polls," an event geared to boost voter turnout in the largely minority precinct.
Of the 500 registered voters in that precinct last year, some 200 showed up at the polls, said Dwight Dyer, a representative with Working Assets, which helped organize the event along with Community Partnership for Families.
The thought this year was that if the polling place was near a fun environment, more voters might be inclined to cast ballots, Dyer said, adding that organizers were hoping to boost voter turnout by as much as 15 percent by "bringing the party back into politics."
The population in that Eastside precinct is largely Hispanic. For residents with roots in Mexico, where elections have been notoriously lacking in integrity, voting may not be seen as a priority, said Francisco Trujillo, site coordinator for the Lodi office of Community Partnership for Families.
By 7 p.m., 120 people had stopped by the event, Trujillo said.
"We're seeing a lot of minority people coming out and getting a feel for it," Trujillo said, as a guitarist strummed and sang an Argentinean love song over loudspeakers. "Being exposed to this, I think we're changing people's mentality."
First published: Wednesday, June 7, 2006