By Shawn Raymundo
The pool of candidates seeking a seat on the city council has begun to emerge as another election season gets underway in San Clemente.
In recent weeks, a handful of candidates already have started to file intention statements with the city, or at least have spoken openly about their intention to run for one of the three open council seats this fall.
According to the city, so far, four individuals— incumbent Councilmember Gene James, Tyler Boden, Chis Duncan and Bill Hart—have submitted candidate intention statements for the 2020 city council race. One other person, Donna Vidrine, has publicly stated she also intends to run.
All prospective candidates will need to circulate and file nomination papers in a period from July 13 through Aug. 7. According to state law, in order to qualify for the election, a candidate must have received at least 20 nominating signatures, or no more than 30, from registered voters in San Clemente.
James, who is currently serving out the final year of the late Mayor Steve Swartz’s term, filed his candidate intention statement with the city on Nov. 18, 2019—two weeks after winning his bid for the open seat in San Clemente’s special election.
James’ seat is up for election this fall, as is the seat of Councilmember Chis Hamm, who is wrapping up his second term on the dais. Hamm announced last month that he will not be seeking reelection for another four-year term come Nov. 3.
A third seat is also available this year to fill the vacancy left behind by former Mayor Dan Bane, who stepped down from the council in April after accepting a job offer that relocated his family to Blue Spring, Missouri.
Bane had two more years left on his term, so the city will hold a special election in conjunction with the general election to fill the seat.
When taking out their nomination papers, prospective candidates will need to specify whether they’re running for one of the four-year terms or the two-year term.
Duncan, a longtime Homeland Security attorney, had previously sought to unseat Assemblymember Bill Brough for the state’s 73rd Assembly district this fall. However, after coming in third out of five candidates during the primary race this past March, he’s turned his focus to local office.
Hart, a career salesperson and marketer for software products, is the current director of contracts and administration for LDRA Limited, a UK-based company that specializes in computer software technology.
Boden, who currently sits on the city’s Human Affairs Committee, recently started his own company, Boden Energy Solutions, a consulting firm in which he works with homeowners and businesses to help them develop solar energy projects.
Vidrine is a nurse and nursing consultant of more than 40 years. During a recent Beachside Chat that San Clemente Times hosts weekly, Vidrine announced that she is likely to run for the two-year council spot.
This year’s General Elections will also include races for city clerk and city treasurer, as well as a ballot measure on whether councilmembers should be limited to two consecutive terms in office.
Official announcements from each of the candidates’ camps are likely to come in the coming weeks.
Shawn Raymundo is the city editor for the San Clemente Times. He graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in Global Studies. Before joining Picket Fence Media, he worked as the government accountability reporter for the Pacific Daily News in the U.S. territory of Guam. Follow him on Twitter @ShawnzyTsunami and follow San Clemente Times @SCTimesNews.