The Hot Seats
The Measure E vote is one of the few clear results from the primary election. The school facilities improvement measure, placed on the June 7 ballot by the Irvine Unified School District Board of Education, passed with nearly 60 percent of the vote.
There has been a buzz building on message boards and neighborhood websites questioning why it’s so hard to find an official list of candidates for the November city council and mayoral races. The answer is in the California Election Code: there are no candidates yet.
Sure, several have declared their intention to run (see the list below). But that list isn’t binding. According to Election Code Section 10220, “Candidates may be nominated for any of the elective offices of the city in the following manner: Not earlier than the 113th day nor later than the 88th day before a municipal election during normal office hours, as posted, the voters may nominate candidates for election by signing a nomination paper.”
That nomination period for the November 8 election is July 18, through Aug. 12. So between now and close of business in the City Clerk’s office on Aug. 12, Irvine residents will have a not-so-quiet period that will no doubt be rife with speculation about who will and who won’t run for mayor and city council.
Here’s what we know for sure: In accordance with the City Charter, the next General Municipal Election in the City of Irvine will be held on Tuesday, November 8, 2016. The purpose of the election is to elect a Mayor to a two-year term, and two members of the city council to a four-year term.
The terms of Mayor Choi and Councilmembers Beth Krom and Christina Shea expire in December of this year. In the June primary Mayor Choi entered the primary to represent the 68th Assembly District in Sacramento, replacing Don Wagner, who is termed out. If Choi came in first or second in the primary, he would run for Wagner’s seat in November and not seek a third term as Irvine’s mayor.
After appearing to have finished a close third in that race soon after the election, as we go to print Choi has moved into second place by .1% of the vote. So it appears probable that Choi will not run for an Irvine city office in November, leaving the mayoral race open. Assemblyman Don Wagner recently confirmed what insiders predicted: he’s running for mayor, joining Gang Chen, Katherine Daigle and Mary Ann Gaido as those who have declared so far.
In the primary for the 74th State Assembly District, Irvine resident Karina Onofre, formerly a Republican running as a Democrat, came in first, beating out Matthew Harper, former mayor of Newport Beach. Irvine’s Katherine Daigle came in third, so she is out of the November election for that seat. Daigle, who also came in third in her 2014 run for Irvine City Council, has indicated she’ll file nomination papers to run for mayor of Irvine in November.
Councilwoman Lynn Schott, whose council seat is not in play in November, ran in the primary election for Loretta Sanchez’s U.S. House of Representatives seat representing Anaheim and Santa Ana. Had Councilwoman Schott placed first or second in that primary she would have been on the November ballot, but would not have to vacate her Irvine council seat unless she won that race. That’s not an issue, however, as she came in 5th in the primary.
What may be an issue in the future, however, is Schott’s self-proclaimed strong affection for and connection to the city of Santa Ana, as expressed during her primary run. Whether her eagerness to represent citizens of that city will affect how Irvine voters feel about her in future elections is a matter for another day.
With important issues facing the city and a critical national election at stake, it appears as if interest in November’s election is high. Whether that translates into higher turnout is another matter.
In 2014 Irvine citizens rejected Larry Agran’s slate, which included him, Mary Ann Gaido and Melissa Fox. The latter two are running again in 2016.
Though it’s far too early to predict 2016 at this point, some would see the municipal races lining up along party lines, with Wagner, Shea and perhaps Anthony Kuo as the conservatives’ choice, with Gaido, Krom and Fox running on the liberal Larry Agran ticket.
Time will tell, and turnout (often low in city elections) will be key as the national election draws voters to the polls.