Fresno Bee Newsroom Blog

Merced mayor caught in political flap

The Merced Sun-Star reports on a tough spot Merced Mayor Stan Thurston found himself in this week:

Stan Thurston

Thurston cut ties with a member of his re-election committee Monday after condemning an email message the campaign volunteer sent that attempts to use opponent Noah Lor’s ethnicity to drum up voter support for the incumbent.

The email, obtained by the Sun-Star, was written by Denis Kenshalo, a volunteer for Thurston’s committee. It was dated Oct. 21 and sent by Kenshalo to at least 10 people and was forwarded to dozens more. Kenshalo has admitted writing and sending the email. He issued an apology on Monday.

In the message, Kenshalo asks his “good friends” to vote for Thurston, saying that he’s done a “great job” for Merced. As the email continues, however, Kenshalo states that Thurston needs “all the support he can get” because Lor will have “all of his own kind” voting for him.

Lor, who is Hmong, was born in the southeast Asian country of Laos and came to the United States at age 15. Kenshalo incorrectly refers to him as being from Vietnam.

Read more here.

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