State Sen. Lou Correa confirmed weeks of speculation that he is considering a run for Santa Ana mayor by pulling candidacy papers Monday, Voice of OC confirmed.

Correa joins Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido and Councilman Roman Reyna as high-profile candidates who have pulled papers, but what the field might ultimately look like is far from clear. 

Political insiders say Correa (D-Santa Ana) and Pulido are locked in a game of political chicken regarding the November election. One rumor has Pulido considering retiring as mayor, which would allow Correa to run without the challenge of a powerful incumbent.

The two have been in talks about just that possibility, according to multiple sources. Correa has declined to comment on his candidacy and Pulido hung up on a reporter Monday seeking comment.

That Pulido hasn’t filed, though he pulled papers weeks ago, is fueling the speculation regarding his possible retirement. However, Pulido could simply be biding his time.

Rumors are also flying that, with Correa’s move to pull papers, other candidates – such as Councilman Vincent Sarmiento and former Councilwoman Claudia Alvarez – could pull papers as soon as Monday afternoon.

In any event, the stage is being set for the most competitive mayoral race in the city’s recent history.

While the mayor has easily won each of his nine re-election bids, his share of the vote has slipped below 50 percent in recent years; and he’s never faced a heavyweight candidate like Correa.

Complicating things further are the multiple law enforcement probes into a questionable real estate swap between the mayor and a city contractor. Both the Orange County District Attorney’s Office and the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission have ongoing investigations.

Pulido has been raising money for a legal defense fund. But as of July 1, he hasn’t raised a penny for his reelection campaign, according to disclosure forms.

Candidates have until Aug. 8 to file their election papers, unless the incumbent does not file by that date. If the incumbent doesn’t file, the deadline for other candidates will be extended until Aug. 13.

For previous coverage of this issue, click here.

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