With the results of Tuesday’s election tallied, the newly selected Hanford City Council is going to see some fresh new faces and some seasoned veterans.

The biggest victory in the race for three seats on the council went to Area E candidate Justin Mendes.

Mendes, district director for Congressman David Valadao, triumphed over businessman and former councilman Dave Thomas. Mendes got 975 votes, or 64.5 percent, compared with Thomas' 525 votes, or 34.7 percent.

Mendes ran a strong campaign, raising more than $20,000 and putting his resources into signs, direct mail materials and other efforts to reach voters in his district. Thomas, meanwhile, ran a minimalist campaign, neither raising nor spending more than $1,000.

Mendes could not be reached for comment Wednesday morning. He will replace incumbent Councilwoman Joleen Jameson, who did not run for a second term.

In the city’s northwestern Area A, voters favored former councilman and physical therapist Dave Ayers over law school graduate Tyler Vierra. As of Wednesday morning, Ayers led with 1,156 votes, or 53.4 percent. Vierra garnered 956 votes, or 45.5 percent.

Ayers, previously served three terms on the council between 1998 and 2010, will replace Councilman Jim Irwin, who did not run for re-election.

“I just appreciate having the opportunity to serve the constituents of District A again,” Ayers said.

In Area D, which encompasses the southeastern part of the city, businessman Francisco Ramirez led Wednesday morning with 580 votes, or 56.7 percent. Incumbent Councilman Lou Martinez trailed with 430 votes, or 42 percent.

Ramirez said he was pleased that his campaign efforts were paying off.

“Our team worked really hard,” Ramirez said. “We pounded the pavement every day.”

Despite trailing by just 150 votes, Martinez said he believed it’s unlikely that there will be enough provisional ballots to change the outcome. Reached for comment Wednesday morning, Martinez said he was preparing to call Ramirez to congratulate him.

“I just want to wish him a lot of luck,” Martinez said.

Among the issues facing the newly elected council will be dealing with the defeat of Measure S, which was proposed by the sitting council as a way to pay for millions of dollars of public safety staffing, facilities and equipment, as well as bolstering other city services like the maintenance of parks and streets.

Martinez said the new council will have a tough job ahead of them, particularly finding money to build a new police station and additional fire stations.

“I think it’s time for people to quit the infighting and disagreeing and learn to work together to find a solution for the problems we have at hand,” Martinez said.

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The reporter can be reached at 583-2458 or meiman@HanfordSentinel.com. Follow him on Twitter @MikeE_HS.


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