Fourth generation Indian American farmer Karm Bains handily won the 4th District County Supervisor’s seat in Northern California’s Sutter County, according to results released Nov. 10.
With 12 out of 12 precincts reporting, Bains won 5,282 votes, almost 61 percent. Tej Mann — who served on the Yuba City council for eight years and retired as the director of Yuba County Environmental Health — lost with 39 percent of the vote: 3,380.
Sutter County is home to at least five generations of Sikh American farmers, who began arriving here in the early 1900s to farm the fertile soil. Indian American farmers in the region grow about two-thirds of the nation’s walnuts and almonds. Bains is the son of Didar Singh Bains, known as the “Peach King” of California.
Preet Didbal was elected mayor of Yuba City in 2017, and was the nation’s first female Sikh American mayor.
Karm Bains alleged to India-West that his race was plagued by dirty politicking from the Mann camp. “These results show that voters resoundingly rejected negative attacks and dirty campaigning.”
“Now it’s time for our community to come together and work for the betterment of the people of Sutter County,” he said, thanking his family and voters for their support.
“We need to recover from the COVID crisis and the shutdown, find real solutions to homelessness, improve our infrastructure, and create jobs by making our economic base more resilient and diverse,” said Bains, who waited to announce results until all votes had been counted in his district.
Bains received the endorsements of Reps. Doug LaMalfa and John Garamendi, and California state Senator Jim Nielsen. Several mayors, including Didbal, who has retired, also endorsed Bains.
Mann did not release a statement after his loss.
Indian American farmer Sarb Thiara, who ran for Sutter County Board of Supervisors District 5 seat, lost his race to Matt Conant, who amassed 4,882 votes, or 59.3 percent. Thiara received 3,351 votes, almost 41 percent.
“I have lived the American Dream. I started as a farm laborer, and worked hard to build my own family farm – growing peaches, prunes and walnuts. I know what it is like to have nothing, and to have to rebuild,” said Thiara in a campaign statement.
“That’s the promise of America — where anyone willing to work can build their own dream. I love my country — and I am committed to this community,” he said.
In other Sutter County election news, Jasmin Dhami, a special education teacher, won one of the two open seats for the Yuba City Unified School District Board, Area 1. In a race where voters were allowed to choose two candidates, Shelley Priddy came in first with 9,136 votes, or 19.10 percent; while Dhami received 8,944 votes, 18.70 percent. The slate of contenders for the seat included Harjit Singh, who received 8,681 votes, 18.15 percent; and Divinder Bains, who came in last with 6,451 votes.
In neighboring Live Oak, Lakhvir Ghag won one of the two open seats on the City Council. In the race, where voters were allowed to choose two, Ghag received 866 votes, or 17 percent; while Nancy Elizabeth Santana came in first with 1,096 votes, or 21.6 percent.