Antioch elections: four candidates for mayor, six for council, seven for school board

No challengers for City Clerk, Treasurer

By Allen Payton

The smell of blood is in the water and the sharks are circling. All incumbents have filed to run for re-election, in the eight local races for the November elections in Antioch, with six facing multiple challengers. Filing closed Friday, with Antioch City Clerk Arne Simonsen and City Treasurer Donna Conley  facing re-electing without opposition.


In the race for Mayor, incumbent Wade Harper will face three challengers in his bid for re-election, including Mayor Pro Tem Lori Ogorchock, local chiropractor and Antioch Chamber of Commerce CEO Dr. Sean Wright, and businessman Gilbert “Gil” Murillo.

Harper was first elected to the city council in 2010, after serving two years as an appointed member of the Antioch School Board. He was elected Mayor in 2012. He ran for County Supervisor in this June’s election, coming in fourth in the race of six candidates, and garnering the second highest number of votes in Antioch.

Ogorchock was the top vote-getter in the 2014 city council race, which earned her the title and position of Mayor Pro Tem, which is the same as vice mayor in other cities. Wright is a one-time unsuccessful candidate for the Antioch School Board and currently serves on the Antioch Economic Development Commission. This is Murillo’s first campaign for public office.

City Council – 2 Seats

Council Members Mary Rocha and Monica Wilson will face four challengers, including one-time council candidates Lamar Thorpe and Karl Dietzel, who both ran and lost in 2014, coming in fourth and a distant sixth respectively, as well as local business owner Ken Turnage II, and retired program manager Fred Rouse.

This will be Rocha’s fourth time running for election to the city council. She was first elected in 1986, lost in 1990, and was elected again in 1992. Rocha was then elected Mayor in 1996 and instead of running for re-election in 2000, chose to run for County Supervisor, losing to Federal Glover. She came back in 2008 and was elected to the council, again after having run unsuccessfully for County Supervisor against Glover, again, placing fourth in the June primary, that year. Prior to her service on the council, Rocha served on the Antioch School Board for 16 years.

This will be Wilson’s first bid for re-election. Like Harper, she also ran for County Supervisor in the June election, and placed fifth while garnering the fourth highest number of votes in Antioch.

Thorpe, a university administrator, is a former member of the Antioch Economic Development Commission, having been removed earlier this year by a vote of the city council, for leading the effort to pass Measure E which was funded by a Pacheco-based casino to prevent Kelly’s Restaurant and Card Room from reopening in Antioch. He was also removed as Wilson’s Alternate Council Member the same night.

Dietzel, who is retired, regularly attends council meetings and has been a critic of the current council. He helped lead the unsuccessful fight against Measure C, the half-cent sales tax for more police in 2013. Turnage serves on the Economic Development Commission and was honored as the 2015 Antioch Citizen of the Year. Rouse is serving for a second time on the City of Antioch Board for Administrative Appeals.

According to Simonsen, both Thorpe and Dietzel filed their nomination papers on Thursday, but his office is waiting for the County Elections Office to verify the signatures of those who signed. Candidates must submit at least 20 and no more than 30 valid signatures of registered voters who live within the city or district they’re running to represent, as nominators.

School Board – 3 Seats

Incumbent Diane Gibson-Gray will seek re-election for her third term, after an unsuccessful attempt for city council in 2014, coming in third. Appointed school board trustees Fernando Navarro and Alonzo Terry will both seek the public’s confirmation of their appointments to the board to fill vacancies created by the resignations of former trustees Barbara Cowan, last fall and Claire Smith, this spring.

Five of the challengers include former trustees Joy Motts and Gary Hack, who didn’t pull his required filing his papers until Wednesday. He filed them the same day. The other three are local news website publisher Mike Burkholder who ran unsuccessfully in 2014 for the Ironhouse Sanitary District Board in Oakley, and teacher Crystal White.

CORRECTION: James Beck pulled papers but did not file, as was previously stated.

The election is on Tuesday, November 8.

2 Comments to “Antioch elections: four candidates for mayor, six for council, seven for school board”

  1. David says:

    If Lori Ogorchock is elected mayor, how will her vacated position be filled? Will we have another fiat like the city council’s appointment of Tony Tiscareno despite the will of the voters?

    • Arne says:

      If Ogorchock was to be elected Mayor, that would leave a 2-year vacancy on her Council seat.

      The Council of four would have the choice of appointing someone to the vacant seat that night; announce applications for the vacant seat with interviews and appointment at a later meeting (within 30 days); or, call for a Special Election to fill the vacancy.

      The last choice would be expensive with an estimated cost of $140,000 to $187,000.

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