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Balen, Costello Clear TUD Winners

There was a clear winner in the Tuolumne Utilities District board race Tuesday night,

Supporters Tuesday evening cheered the apparent victory for TUD board challenger Barbara Balen. The 52-year-old Sonora resident garnered the most votes in a low-turn-out election. As of late last night with all precincts reporting, Balen had 22.53 percent of the vote.

Balen was celebrating with supporters this evening in Sonora.

Three board seats were open in this race. Bringing in second highest vote tally in Tuesdays election, in the unofficial vote tally, is challenger Jim Costello with 20.98 percent of the vote.

And in a very tight run for the third board seat, incumbent Dr. Ralph Retherford is apparently edging out challenger Jim Nuzum with only 47 votes. An official final vote tally is expected by the Tuolumne County Elections Office by Friday. Absentee ballots turned in Election Day have yet to be counted, a county elections office spokeswoman said.

TUD Board incumbent Gary Walter lost his seat on the board with just 17 and a half percent of the vote.