The chairman of the Fresno County Board of Supervisors announced Friday he is pulling his endorsement of incumbent Oscar J. Garcia for the job of county auditor-controller, tax collector-treasurer in the November election.
The race became heated this week when a critic of Garcia dug up his 2001 arrest on suspicion of misdemeanor child molestation.
“After careful evaluation of the facts that have recently surfaced regarding Oscar Garcia, I have decided to withdraw the use of my name and my endorsement in the race for Auditor-Controller/Treasurer-Tax Collector,” Supervisor Chairman Sal Quintero says in a news release.
“ At this time, I will remain neutral,” the release says.
Court records say Garcia pleaded no contest to the charge in November 2001. Under a plea agreement, Garcia’s case was dismissed in November 2002 after he stayed out of trouble for a year.
Earlier this week, Garcia, 55, issued a statement: “It saddens me that the opponent or his supporters would take a 17 year family situation and try to use it to their political advantage.”
In his statement, Garcia contended the dismissal of his case amounted to an exoneration.
His opponent, David Keyes, 57, said Garcia’s declaration of exoneration was a “lie, full stop.” Keyes said Garcia’s criminal case is a public record and “relevant to the issue of his character.” He said the public has a right to know before they cast their votes.
The two candidates are in the Nov. 6 runoff because in the June primary Garcia received 55,301 votes and Keyes had 49,131. That equates to 48.3 percent of the vote for Garcia and 43.3 percent for Keyes. To win in the June primary, a candidate had to have at least 50 percent plus one vote.