By Shawn Raymundo
UPDATE: A total of 18 candidates have solidified spots on the ballots for this year’s city council races in the fall.
The crowded field of candidates grew to 18 on Thursday, Aug. 13, when council hopeful Jeff Provance officially qualified to run in the race for one of the two full-term seats. Another prospective candidate, James Daniel Bacon, had pulled nomination papers but failed to file before the deadline on Wednesday, Aug. 12.
The ballot for the General Election will include nine others who had already qualified: Councilmember Gene James, the incumbent, Aaron Washington, Bill Hart, Thor Johnson, Chris Duncan, Patrick Minnehan, Joseph Kenney, Jeff Wellman and Charlie Smith.
The eight other candidates—Donna Vidrine, Tyler Boden, Laron Rush, Zhen Wu, Steven Knoblock, Jim Dahl, Jerry Quinlan and George Gregory—will participate in a Special Section as they vie for the remaining two years of former Mayor Dan Bane’s term.
Below is the initial version of the story published a 1:24 p.m. on Wednesday.
The names of at least 17 candidates are set to appear on the ballots for this year’s city council races, with two other candidates potentially being added to the crowded list.
This year’s city council contests will comprise a General Election race for two full-term seats and a Special Election for a two-year seat to fill the rest of the term vacated by former Mayor Dan Bane.
The ballot for San Clemente’s Special Election, the second in as many years, was finalized this past Friday and includes eight candidates who qualified for the race: Donna Vidrine, Tyler Boden, Laron Rush, Zhen Wu, Steven Knoblock, Jim Dahl, Jerry Quinlan and George Gregory.
According to City Clerk Joanne Baade, who will be running unopposed for the clerk position this fall, one other prospective candidate, Marcie Landeros, pulled nomination papers for the two-year seat but had not filed the paperwork with the city by this past Friday’s deadline.
As for the race for the two four-year seats, Councilmember Gene James, the incumbent who won last year’s Special Election, will look to hold on to his seat, competing against at least eight others: Aaron Washington, Bill Hart, Thor Johnson, Chris Duncan, Patrick Minnehan, Joseph Kenney, Jeff Wellman and Charlie Smith.
Two more potential candidates, Jeff Provance and James Daniel Bacon, could potentially enter the race by Wednesday, Aug. 12—the deadline to file their paperwork. The two had pulled their nomination papers, but had not yet filed as of this posting.
The deadline for candidates to file nomination papers was this past Friday, Aug. 7. However, if an incumbent hadn’t yet filed his or her papers by that date, the filing period for that specific race would be extended.
Baade explained that because Councilmember Chris Hamm did not file nomination papers, the deadline to file and qualify for the General Election race was pushed to Wednesday this week. Hamm had announced this past May that he had no intention of seeking reelection.
This year’s elections mark the most crowded overall contest for a city council seat in recent years, surpassing the dozen candidates who had vied for three open seats in the 2018 General Election.
In 2016, there were five candidates running for two seats; seven candidates running for three seats in 2014; five vying for two seats in 2012; and nine candidates campaigning for three spots in 2010.
On Friday, City Treasurer Mark Taylor officially qualified for a spot on the ballot and will be running for the treasurer seat unopposed.
When voters get their ballots this fall, they’ll also see Measure BB, which will ask whether term limits for councilmembers should be set. 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.