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By Shawn Raymundo
Eleven names so far are set to be included on the general and special election ballots for the upcoming city council races this fall.
As of Wednesday morning, Aug. 5, six individuals—Aaron Washington, Bill Hart, Chris Duncan, Patrick Minnehan, Jeff Wellman and Charlie Smith—have qualified to run for the two full-term city council seats in November.
Five other candidates—Donna Vidrine, Tyler Boden, Laron Rush, Zhen Wu and Steven Knoblock—will appear on the special election ballot for a two-year term, filling the seat recently vacated by former Mayor Dan Bane.
Eight others have recently pulled their nomination papers to run for one of the three open seats, including incumbent Councilmember Gene James. As of press time, they hadn’t filed their papers or hadn’t officially qualified to run, according to the city.
Those prospective candidates vying for the four-year seat on the council include James, Thor Johnson, Joseph Kenney, Jeff Provance, and James Daniel Bacon. The others looking to make a run for the two-year seat include Jim Dahl, Jerry Quinlan and George Gregory.
Nomination papers are due back to the city by the end of the business day on Friday, Aug. 7. However, according to the city, if an incumbent hasn’t yet filed his or her papers by that date, the period will be extended to Aug. 12.
The two council seats open for election this fall are currently occupied by James and Councilmember Chris Hamm. However, Hamm, who’s wrapping up his second term in office, announced this past May that he will not be seeking reelection.
Campaigning among some of the candidates has already kicked off in recent weeks, including the camps of Duncan, a Homeland Security attorney, and Boden, an energy consultant.
On Monday, Aug. 3, Vidrine, a former Air Force captain and business owner, officially announced the launch of her campaign for the two-year term.
“Having served as an Air Force Captain and Registered Nurse with over 40 years experience in management and public health, I’m ready to serve San Clemente,” Vidrine said in a press release.
If elected to office, Vidrine said, she intends to solve one of San Clemente’s most pressing issues: homelessness. She said she plans to deal with the homelessness crisis “head-on with intervention and prevention to keep families and individuals off the streets.”
This year’s elections will also include races for city clerk and city treasurer. As of Tuesday, Joanne Baade, the incumbent, is the only person running for city clerk. City Treasurer Mark Taylor has pulled nomination papers but has not yet filed them. He’s the only person who has pulled papers for that position.
When voters cast their ballots this fall, they’ll also be asked to decide on a measure over setting term limits for councilmembers. If passed, council seats will be limited to two consecutive terms, but a councilmember could serve again after a two-year lapse in service.
This year’s elections are scheduled for Nov. 3.
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.