City Council to vote on calling 2020 general municipal election

Santa Clarita City Hall, as pictured on February, 26, 2020, is located on the 23900 block of Valencia Blvd. Dan Watson/The Signal
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The Santa Clarita City Council is expected to adopt a resolution Tuesday calling for the general municipal election in November to elect two City Council members for the seats currently held by Mayor Cameron Smyth and Councilman Bob Kellar. 

The resolution requests the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to order the consolidation of the election to be held Nov. 3 alongside the statewide general election. 

Candidates interested in running will have a chance to file nomination papers with the city clerk between Monday, July 13, and Friday, Aug. 7. If any incumbent does not file by this deadline, the filing period is extended until Wednesday, Aug. 12, when candidates, other than incumbents, may file, read the city agenda report. 

Earlier this year, a handful of candidates had already announced interest in running for the two City Council seats. 

Though he has not publicly announced, Smyth has indicated his intention is to run again. In July, Kellar said he will not run for re-election after serving on the council for more than 19 years, including four one-year terms as mayor.

Those who have announced their intention to run include: Aakash Ahuja, a Santa Clarita resident and practicing psychiatrist; Chris Werthe, who ran for a seat in the Saugus Union School District in 2018; Jason Gibbs, who ran in the 2018 City Council election and previously announced Kellar’s endorsement; and Ken Dean, who’s making his eighth run for office. 

Former senior congressional district representative Jonathan Ahmadi announced the launch of his campaign in January, but suspended it in March to form a committee aiming to help develop district maps for the city as it looks to transition from at-large to district-based elections. 

The city’s transition was aimed to be in place by November, but the council voted to postpone the process until Los Angeles County’s health order allows for public gatherings, such as the public hearings required for the change, due to the ongoing pandemic. Council members discussed in late May that condensing a process of having multiple public hearings, and drafting maps by the county-imposed deadline of June 30 in order to switch in time for November, was too rushed.  

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