On November 17, 2018 the Kings County Election Results page was updated and showed Francisco Ramirez leading by 65 votes in the race for Hanford City Council - District D. From Election Night through November 13th, he was trailing incumbent Diane Sharp by at least 30 votes.
Going into the election season Ms. Sharp was prepared and had the resources to run a well-funded and organized campaign. She was often a fixture at many community events and made sure she could be easily identified as a Council Member by wearing her City of Hanford nametag, (she was easily identified by a particular food vendor at the Renaissance Faire). Looking at her Facebook page, one could tell she had support from various local notables. She was well-connected. She met with downtown business owners to discuss various hot topics and they generally seemed appeased by her platitudes.
Ms. Sharp’s campaign motto was “Competence Matters.” A deliberate swipe at Mr. Ramirez’s perceived disorganized personality. While Ms. Sharp didn’t overtly engage in mudslinging against her opponent, her supporters sure did on social media platforms and she did nothing to stop or curtail them. And perhaps that was a big misstep for her; her supporters largely consisted of those who live in Districts A, B, or C (that is if they lived in Hanford at all, as she received much support from people in other cities).
Francisco Ramirez, to his credit, never underestimated his voting constituents and his ties to his local district. His grassroots campaign on a minimal budget was enough to combat Ms. Sharp’s sponsoring of events, yard signs and publications, and outside-district support. He is well-known in his district and well-liked. He is relatable to his constituents and likely to have shared experiences with many of them. Ms. Sharp courted the wrong voters and underestimated the people of District D.
On her Facebook page many of her supports said they were “shocked” and “couldn’t believe” the results. Perhaps they wouldn’t have been so surprised if they realized that not one person among them could say, “I voted for Diane Sharp.”
Alex De Roma