El Centro City Council Profiles

El Centro Voters Elect Three Newcomers to CUHSD Board

EL CENTRO — At least one of the two incumbents seeking re-election to the Central Union High School District board appears to have fallen short of the votes needed to secure one of the three available full-term seats.

Unofficial election results revealed Trustee Jacinto “Jay” Jimenez earned 21.4 percent of the vote, just shy of the 25.5 percent that political novice Maria Peinado had accumulated on Election Day, Nov. 3.

The other incumbent, Diahna Garcia-Ruiz, was in a relative dead heat with challenger and top-vote getter, Eric Rodriguez, the unofficial elections results published Thursday morning, Nov. 4, stated.

All told, some 12,897 votes had been counted as of 1 a.m. Nov. 4, with 3,476, or 26.9 percent, going to Rodriguez, a first-time office seeker and county Department of Social Services child welfare social worker.

Garcia-Ruiz, who has served on the board for the past four years and is employed as a U.S. Postal Service postmaster, netted 26.9 percent of the vote, and trailed Rodriguez by just 118 votes.

The margin between Rodriguez and Garcia-Ruiz was about double that of the 60-vote lead she held over Peinado, a county Public Health Department public information officer.

If Jimenez, a retired Allstate Insurance agency owner, fails to muster the votes needed to surpass any of the top three vote-getters, it would spell the end for his 24 years serving on the CUHSD Board of Trustees.

In the district’s election for a two-year seat on the board, newcomer Carlos Hernandez appeared to have established a solid lead over the appointed incumbent Steve Walker.

Of the 6,489 votes counted as of Nov. 4, Hernandez amassed 4,229 votes, or 65.1 percent of the ballots. Walker, a local attorney who had previously served on the CUHSD board for 16 years, garnered 2,260 votes, or 34.8 percent.

The county election department is in the process of counting mail-in and provisional ballots and is not expected to release official election results for some weeks.

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