IMPERIAL VALLEY — Although three county supervisors’ seats are up for election in the March primary, it appears as though only Luis Plancarte’s District 2 seat will be challenged, and no, that challenger will not be Ralph Cordova Jr.
For some time, rumors
have abounded the former Imperial County counsel and chief executive officer
Cordova would take on the single-term incumbent Plancarte. Even though Cordova said
he pulled the paperwork to gather signatures in lieu of paying a filing fee,
the attorney explained Dec. 1 that he would not be on the March 3 primary
With two children in
college, a thriving private practice with “too much work” and other commitments
that would take away from him being a full-time county supervisor, Cordova
said, “I can’t do it … It’s not the right time to run.”
Cordova left the county
as CEO in August 2017 after nearly a decade in the position, reportedly being paid
a $580,000 settlement by the board.
Cordova said, “I left
under my own terms and conditions” but did not elaborate on his reasons.
County officials did not
provide a copy of Cordova’s settlement agreement by deadline Dec. 3. County
Public Information Officer Linsey Dale had said the agreement would be provided
by the end of the day Dec. 2.
County Supervisors Ryan
Kelley, District 4, and Michael Kelley, District 3, are both running for
re-election but were unopposed as of Dec. 3, county election records show. No
other candidates had pulled any of the required paperwork.
With the filing period
set to close Dec. 6, it appears as though retired county Department of Social
Services program manager Claudia Marie Camarena will be the lone challenger for
District 2, which is made up of a large portion of El Centro, parts of west
Calexico and the unincorporated communities of Heber, Ocotillo, No Mirage,
Coyote Wells, Yuha Basin and Painted Gorge.
Although it’s a primary
contest, if there are just two candidates the top vote getter will win the
County Board Candidates Speak
Plancarte, who is due to
be chairman of the board next year, said during an interview Nov. 27 he is
running again for the sake of “continuity,” saying his first term focused on
infrastructure improvements to the county, such as roads, economic development and
He said four years isn’t
enough time to see everything done that he set out to do, adding the county made
strides but “it takes a lot of work, relationship-building, and consistency.”
He added, “First time I
ran on a platform of what I would do to try to move forward, not what was not
being done or not being taken care of. Again, I will run a campaign on what I
Meanwhile, Camarena, who
finished about 300 votes behind Plancarte in the June 2016 primary but did not
advance to the runoff that year, said she is ready to commit to be a supervisor
full-time following her retirement from the county this year.
Camarena said Nov. 29 she
is running on a “pro-employee” platform and that she wants to revamp the county
worker-complaint process. She said she will donate half to three-quarters of
her annual board salary to nonprofit agencies.
Citing the ongoing
financial issues of the county, Camarena said the county has too many
high-paying positions that are unnecessary, including the new public
information officer position, the intergovernmental relations position and a
number of deputy CEO posts.
Michael Kelley said his decision
to seek what will be his fourth consecutive term should get him close to seeing
longtime issues resolved such as addressing the damaged Salton Sea and spurring
local economic development.
“I have a deep-rooted
passion and love for Imperial County,” Michael Kelley said. “I have a lot of
knowledge and skills developed over the years to contribute.”
Chairman Ryan Kelley, who
will be gliding into his third term on the board, also ran uncontested in 2016.
“This valley’s not small
anymore, and we’re not back woods. We’re medium-sized now and we need to
embrace that,” Ryan Kelley said.
He added the county needs
to use that to its advantage and “that’s why I want to run again.”
Other County Races
Four Imperial County
Superior Court judgeships are up for re-election and, as of Dec. 3, the
currently seated judges have filed their re-election papers and are running
unopposed, according to election officials.
Those judges are Marco
Nuñez, William Derek Quan, William D. Lehman and Eran Marie Bermudez.
U.S. Rep. Juan Vargas,
D-Chula Vista, is running for re-election to Congress’ 51st District
in the open primary. On the Republican side is self-described “Donald J. Trump
Republican” Alejandro Rodriguez, who was raised in Brawley and Westmorland.
No other candidates are
listed for the 51st District on the county’s election department
With Democratic Assembly
Member Eduardo Garcia reaching his term limit, the only name appearing on the
county’s election page for the 56th Assembly District, which is made
up of Imperial and Coachella valleys, is America L. Figueroa, a Republican from