Two City Council candidates pull out, as many as 14 in race

Santa Clarita City Hall is located on the 23900 block of Valencia Blvd. File Photo
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As of Monday, 11 challengers have filed papers with the state to run in the race to unseat three Santa Clarita City Council incumbents up for reelection.

Councilman Bill Miranda, Mayor Pro Tem Marsha McLean and Mayor Laurene Weste have announced their intent to seek re-election.

Weste was first elected in 1998 and McLean in 2002. Miranda was appointed in 2017 to fill the term of Assemblyman Dante Acosta.

Since the filing period began on July 16, candidates Cherry Ortega, Paul Wieczorek and Diane Trautman have turned in all of their paperwork to the city and are considered eligible candidates, said Santa Clarita City Clerk Mary Cusick.

Other candidates who have not yet filed city paperwork, but have filed with the state, are the City Council incumbents, Logan Smith, Brett Haddock, Jason Gibbs, Ken Dean, Sankalp Varma, Matthew Hargett, Sandra Nichols and Stephen Updyke.

Two candidates listed with the state, Lee Uber and Chris Werthe, recently announced on social media their decisions to withdraw from the race.

Werthe will be running in the William S. Hart Union High School District governing board race for District 2 against incumbent Bob Jensen, he declared Aug. 4.

“I felt the Hart District school board election needed more attention,” he said on Monday. “The Measure SA bond money needs a closer look, and improvements need to be made to existing infrastructure. I have children in the district, and I want to look at what’s being promised to voters and what’s being delivered.”

Uber said his committee had not been hitting fundraising goals when he decided to withdraw and throw his support behind the other candidates.

“The field already had solid choices that I would have a hard time competing with,” he said. “I will be working behind the scenes to help elect Brett Haddock, Logan Smith and Diane Trautman in November. I am anticipating a run in 2020, but for now, I’m putting my efforts behind the clear frontrunners.”

Smith, Haddock, Trautman and Gibbs have put up social media candidacy pages.

Smith has been endorsed by Democratic organizers and officials, such as State Sen. Kevin de León, SD-24, Assembly Speaker Pro Tem Kevin Mullin and 25th Congressional District candidate Katie Hill.

Councilman Bob Kellar endorsed Gibbs on June 28 and said the council needed “new blood involved with our community.”

“I think we’ve been a good team, working together,” he said. “But that doesn’t take away from the fact that — what are we gonna do? Die at 90 with the same people on City Council? Whatever the people’s desire is, I’m perfectly comfortable with it.”

The forms required by the city and state are a 501 form announcing a candidate’s intent to run, a 410 form to open a campaign committee and a 460 form that details campaign donations and expenditures.

Candidates must file with both the city and the state.

The city of Santa Clarita recently consolidated its elections with Los Angeles County, and as a result, its timeline for elections is regulated by county policy and law.

The deadline for candidate applications is Aug. 10, unless an incumbent doesn’t file for the race, in which case it would be extended.


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