San Benito County District 5 Supervisor Bea Gonzales has fallen to Ignacio Velasquez as of Wednesday morning’s ballot count in the March 5 primary election. 

This and other local election results show a voters’ preference for candidates who promise to slow down development activity that has ramped up in San Benito County in recent years, according to those who lead the vote count. 

The former Hollister mayor pulled away with 55.13% of the vote, while Gonzales trailed with 44.87%, according to the latest, unofficial election results from the San Benito County elections office. 

Velasquez said on March 6 that he is not surprised by the result.

“No, what I’ve been saying for a long time is I think people understand that there’s massive issues happening here, and they’ve been fooled too many times here. People are finally realizing that they need somebody that’s going to help stop this out-of-control growth and get focused on fixing our roads and our infrastructure,” Velasquez said.

Ignacio Velasquez. Photo: Contributed

In other March 5 results, incumbents Dom Zanger and Kollin Kosmicki each won their races for District 1 and District 2 Supervisor, respectively. Both Zanger and Kosmicki campaigned on slowing down the construction of new homes and focusing more on public infrastructure and traffic mitigation. 

As for proponents of more residential growth, Velasquez said that the message is clear.

“I think for the people on the other side, they need to understand that we have this beautiful community that we need to protect and we need to plan wisely. It’s not fair to tax our citizens more money so that a few developers can become super rich,” Velasquez said.  

Gonzales told the Free Lance before the preliminary results came in that she was hopeful for a win.

“We ran a positive and clean campaign and we are confident we will come out on top,” Gonzales said. 

Zanger wins three-way race 

San Benito County District 1 Supervisor Dom Zanger looks poised to take the three-way supervisor race as of Wednesday morning, holding down 56.08% of the vote over Dustin Weber and Stacie McGrady, who had 18.17% and 25.75% of the vote, respectively, according to the county elections office.

Candidates who take more than 50% of the vote in the supervisors’ elections win the seat outright. As it stands March 6, Zanger will not have to compete in a runoff in November.

Zanger said Wednesday morning that he was feeling optimistic about the final results.

“We’re not at the finish line yet, but it’s looking really promising, and I’m just optimistic and I just feel very thankful for everything,” Zanger said.

Dom Zanger. Photo: Contributed

Having run a campaign advocating for slow growth, Zanger said it was about time county residents make their voices heard on the issue.

“I think it’s long overdue that we really pull the reins back and get control of the growth, and get things on a more correct path forward. I think things are going to be improving dramatically when it comes to that. I feel very grateful for all the support from everyone […] and I’m just very, very excited for the future,” Zanger said.

Zanger was elected in 2022 to complete the four-year term started by former Supervisor Mark Medina, who resigned in 2021. 

Kosmicki keeps seat 

San Benito County District 2 Supervisor Kollin Kosmicki will keep his seat, beating out San Juan Bautista Council member John Freeman with 64.77% of the vote as of March 6.

Kosmicki ran on a platform of “responsible” growth for the county and an emphasis on upgrading existing infrastructure, including local roads. 

“I know it’s generic, but I just can’t say enough about how grateful I am for the constituents in the district and just the level of support that I’ve gotten,” Kosmicki said over the phone on Wednesday morning.

Kollin Kosmicki. Photo: Contributed

When Freeman was reached for comment March 6, he said that the results were still incomplete and that low voter turnout was a hindrance. However, he felt good about the way he ran his campaign.

“It doesn’t look like it’s going to turn out that great, but I’m proud of the way we ran it—there were no personal attacks and everything was above board,” Freeman said.

Kosmicki said that the victories of Velasquez, Zanger and his own reflect the sentiment in the county over growing residential development.

“We need leadership that’s going to step in and really finally focus on the things that the public wants, namely, getting our infrastructure caught up and in the meantime, not growing at such a rapid pace that we’ve been growing at over the last several years,” Kosmicki said.

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  1. If you would do a story on RHNA and Builders Remedy I would appreciate it. There are consequences for non compliance re RHNA. There are several new state laws that are geared at spurring affordable housing. As I attended a planning commissioner academy recently there was no indication the state was going to back down in their enforcement of the California Housing Crisis. I think the whole picture will become more clear when the state steps in for compliance.

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