By Jim Shilander
City Council Candidate “0” Robert “Bob” Baker has withdrawn from the race, citing “personal reasons.” However, his name will remain on the ballot, due to the late timing of his withdrawal, a release from City Clerk Joanne Baade noted.
“0” Baker’s candidacy has been controversial since the filing, creating the strange situation of having two candidates with identical names -the other being incumbent councilman Bob Baker-on the ballot for the same race. For balloting purposes, the incumbent Bob Baker was listed as “1” Robert “Bob” Baker. Incumbent “1” Bob Baker accused the challenger of essentially being a prop by those opposing his reelection, as someone whose name was on the ballot to intentionally confuse voters.
The name confusion also prompted a perhaps first-of-its-kind lot drawing to determine the ballot position of the two men, with “0” Robert “Bob” Baker, getting the fifth position on the ballot after winning the draw.
The challenging Bob Baker had neither appeared at any candidate forums or answered a questionnaire sent to him by the San Clemente Times.
Baade also stated that should the challenger win a seat on the council despite his withdrawal, he could decide to resign immediately from the
council, thus creating a vacancy that would require a special election. The council could then appoint someone to the vacancy in the intervening period.
The winner of the special election would then serve out the original term, through the 2016 election.
When contacted for a response, the incumbent Baker said, “I don’t know what to think. How do you do that?”