Two Santa Ana city councilmen pulled papers Monday to run against longtime Mayor Miguel Pulido, thus setting up potentially one of the most competitive elections for the office in recent memory.

Councilman David Benavides announced his mayoral run Monday afternoon. Councilman Sal Tinajero, while not making a formal announcement, also set himself up to make a run.

“I am ready to be the Mayor with the vision and commitment to help our city realize its potential,” Benavides wrote in a news release. “As Mayor I will engage our residents and businesses and bring our community together around the common goals of safe neighborhoods, strong businesses, and building our city into a cultural destination — a city in which we can all take pride.”

Benavides was first elected to the City Council in 2006 and re-elected in 2010. The 36-year-old councilman first arrived in the city in 1996 as a youth mentor in the troubled Raitt Street neighborhood, according to the news release. Benavides stayed 15 years beyond that eight-week summer program.

Among his proposals is a “Mayor’s Office of Community Engagement” that would focus on “Revitalizing our Neighborhoods, Reinforcing our Local Economy, Renewing Pride in Santa Ana,” the news release states.

Tinajero was also elected in 2006 and relected in 2010. He was “born and raised in Santa Ana,” according to a profile on the city’s website, and is a history teacher and debate coach at Fullerton Union High School. He previously served on the Santa Ana Unified School District Board of Education.

Tinajero also pulled his nomination papers but made no formal announcement and could not be reached immediately for comment as to whether he will actually file the papers.

The moves come amid an effort to impose a term limit on mayors, which would effectively oust Pulido, who was first elected mayor in 1994. Council members Michele Martinez and Vincent Sarmiento sit on a subcommittee that is hammering out a potential term-limit initiative for the November ballot.

Besides Pulido and his two council colleagues, two others have pulled nomination papers to run for mayor, according to the clerk’s office: Roy Alvarado and Miguel Angel Briseno, who shares both Pulido’s first and middle names.


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