Round-Up: Who’s Running for City Council?

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The November general election is already heating up in several of Orange County’s largest cities. Here’s our roundup of the candidates who, as of Friday’s 5 p.m. deadline, have filed paperwork to run for city council.

In cities where an incumbent didn’t file for re-election, candidates will have until August 13 to join the race.  

Anaheim

In Anaheim, candidates for mayor include incumbent Tom Tait, former Councilwoman Lorri Galloway, current Councilwoman Lucile Kring and activist Denis Fitzgerald.

Tait has angered Anaheim’s business establishment — which is backing Kring — with his opposition to corporate tax subsidies and support for by-district council elections, a system that supporters say will guarantee adequate representation for the city’s Latino majority. 

Kring’s candidacy is pending qualification, while all other mayoral candidates qualified for the ballot, according to City Clerk Linda Andal.

Meanwhile, council members Gail Eastman and Kris Murray are running for reelection. Their challengers include attorney Doug Pettibone and Anaheim City School District board member James Vanderbilt — both backed by Tait — Los Amigos President Dr. Jose F. Moreno, activist Donna Acevedo, retired police officer Jerry O’Keefe, and resident Jose “Joe” Moreno.

Jose “Joe” Moreno’s candidacy remains pending, Andal said, and all others have qualified. 

Robert “Bob” Tiscareno pulled papers for council but didn’t file, Andal said.

Costa Mesa

Controversial first-term Mayor Jim Righeimer is facing seven potential challengers in his bid for re-election in November, including several of his vocal critics.

Eight people are vying for two seats on the council, one vacated by termed out Councilwoman Wendy Leece, who was often the lone dissenting voice on the council before her ally Sandra Genis joined the council in 2012.

In addition to his bid for re-election, Righeimer will be lobbying voters to approve a ballot measure for the proposed city charter, which Righeimer has advocated since 2010.

Among the candidates are Newport-Mesa School Board Trustee Katrina Foley, who served on the council from 2004-2010; Jay Humphrey, who was a councilman from 1990-1994; longtime resident Lee Ramos and Tony Capitelli, an aide Congressman Dana Rohrabacher and the son-in-law of Newport Beach mayor Keith Curry; Christopher Bunyan, who has been a vocal critic of the Banning Ranch development; Al Melone, a retired certified public accountant and previous council candidate; and resident Rita Louise Simpson.Righeimer has, by far, the most money in his campaign war chest, raising nearly $70,000 this calendar year alone. 

To view candidates’ campaign finance filings and other election information, visit the city website.

Garden Grove

A dozen candidates, including several political newcomers, have filed to run for two open city council seats and challenge incumbent Mayor Bruce Broadwater, who is running for his seventh term in that seat.

Councilwoman Dina Nguyen is termed out, while councilman Kris Beard’s two-year appointed position is expiring, opening up two seats and potentially a third, if councilman Chris Phan’s preemptive bid for first district Supervisor is successful.

Phan, who was elected to his first time on the city council in 2012, has already taken a leave of absence from his job as a county district attorney to run his campaign, with the hopes that Supervisor Janet Nguyen will be moving on up to the State Senate. If Phan wins, the council could call a special election or, as they have done in the past, appoint one of top vote getters to Phan’s vacant seat. 

Three candidates are seeking to unseat Broadwater, including Garden Grove Unified School District Trustee Bao Nguyen, resident Peter McMaster and Albert Ayala, who ran for State Assembly in 2012.

Beard will have seven challengers, including three former city commissioners: Joe Dovinh, spouse of councilwoman Nguyen; Phat Bui, and John O’Neill, who have all made failed bids for elected office in the past.

Bui came close to a council seat in 2012, when he was the third top vote getter and was nominated for an appointment to an open seat on the council. The council opted to appoint Beard, who trailed behind Bui by 1,100 votes, instead.

Other candidates who have filed paperwork include Quang Tran, a former city commissioner who has been endorsed by State Senator Lou Correa; resident Paul Marsden, who is running on the mantra of No More Nepotism; resident Ruhina Khan, police dispatcher Rickk Montoya, and businessman James T. Ybarra. 

Irvine

Irvine City Council is sharply divided in a 3-2 split between a Republican council majority and a Democratic minority. A possible shift in the power balance is what’s at stake in the Irvine council election.

There are three candidates for Irvine mayor — incumbent Steven Choi, former Councilwoman Mary Ann Gaido, and paralegal Katherine Daigle. Choi is the council majority-backed candidate. Daigle is also a Republican, and Gaido is a Democrat. 

Candidates for Irvine council include incumbent Democrat Larry Agran and incumbent Republican Jeffrey Lalloway, Republican Central Committee member and Planning Commissioner Lynn Schott, Democrat Melissa Fox and Republican Evan Chemers. 

All Irvine mayoral and council candidates qualified for the ballot.

Santa Ana

Qualified candidates for Santa Ana mayor include incumbent Miguel Pulido, Councilman Roman Reyna and entrepreneur/soldier Mark I Lopez.

The mayoral field took a dramatic turn earlier this week when State Sen. Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) pulled papers to run for mayor. However, he announced Thursday his decision not to run. 

Councilman Vincent Sarmiento also pulled papers to run for mayor. But his name did not appear on the city’s final candidacy report.

Meanwhile, incumbent Santa Ana council members Michele Martinez, David Benavides and Sal Tinajero all submitted paper for reelection and qualified for the ballot.

Martinez drew three challengers for Ward 2 —  businesswoman Mirna Velasquez, educator/web developer Gilad Salmon and businessman Rene Gomez. All candidates qualified.

Paralegal Alex Padilla is the only candidate challenging Benavides in Ward 4. And business owner Miguel “Mike” Gonzalez is taking on Tinajero for Ward 6. Both candidates qualified.

Ward 6 candidate and insurance advisor Nam Pham withdrew his papers.

Westminster

Seven candidates are lining up to run for mayor and two city council seats, including incumbent Mayor Tri Ta and councilwoman Margie L. Rice.

Because councilman Andy Quach did not file papers for re-election, candidates will have until August 13 to join the race.

Ta, who was celebrated as the first Vietnamese-American mayor when he was elected in 2012, is running for that seat again this year. His only opponent so far is Andy Truc Nguyen, a 23-year-old journalist.

Rice, who was Mayor from 2000-2010, announced her retirement in 2012, only to return via an appointment to a vacant seat. That two-term appointment is up, and now she faces five other challengers. 

Those opponents include Truong Tyler Diep, a Midway Sanitary District director who served on the council for four years; Charlie Nguyen Manh Chi, a former electrical engineer and businessman who ran for city council in 2012; and two candidates who have run for city council previously, Alin Hamade and Ha Mach. 

Mach pulled papers on Friday but not yet filed.

Additional Links

The following cities have posted a list of candidates online. If your city is not listed below, contact the City Clerk’s Office to find out who filed to run in the November election:

Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled the names of Rickk Montoya and Mirna Velasquez.

Please contact Thy Vo directly at thyanhvo@gmail.com and follow her on Twitter: twitter.com/thyanhvo.

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