Riggy And Bunyan Make It Nine!
In this wonderful game of musical chairs we play every two years, Planning Commissioner Jim Righeimer and businessman Chris Bunyan today tossed their hats into the Costa Mesa City Council race this fall, to make it a nice, uneven 9 candidates for the three seats available. This might change if some folks who pulled papers earlier fail to return them by Friday. And, of course, there's still time for more candidates to surface. Until then, we now have three times the number of fannies than seats available.
FOUR VETERANS ( INCLUDING THREE MAYORS)
The way it stands right now, incumbent council members Katrina Foley, Linda Dixon and Eric Bever have pulled papers, along with former three-term council member Gary Monahan, who will look like an incumbent to many voters because of his previous long, long, long tenure on the council. That gives us three current or former mayors in the mix.
FOUR NEWBIES PLUS BUNYAN AND RIGGY
Additionally, newcomers Lisa Reedy, William Sneen and Nicholas Moss will be joined by 2006 also-ran Chris Bunyan and Righeimer (if you can actually count him as a "newcomer" with a straight face) in the race for a seat at the big table in November.
WILL RIGGY SPOOK THE NEWBIES?
It's assumed that the new candidates understood that Foley, Dixon, Bever and Monahan were running, but I find myself wondering if Righeimer's presence will cause any of the newcomers to reconsider their candidacy. His high-level connections in the Orange County GOP will certainly make him anything but a run-of-the-mill newcomer. He's a seasoned politician, has access to lots of potential big donors and is a pretty smart guy. I suspect there's no chance of him entering the race unless he seriously thinks he can win one of the seats available. A loss in this race might make his viability for future higher office suspect.
ANY VOTES LEFT?
With Riggy in the mix now, along with Foley, Dixon, Bever and Monahan, it seems to me that there simply are not going to be many votes left for the new folks. All of these experienced campaigners have solid name recognition, a record of accomplishment (whether you agree with it or not) have access to big campaign bucks and know how to run a campaign. Of these five, Bever is probably the least proficient campaigner... After spending around $50,000, he edged out Bruce Garlich by a mere 44 votes when they ran in 2004.
INCUMBENT MAYOR OUT - AGAIN?
In fact, this may be another of those campaigns where the incumbent mayor gets knocked off - just as Allan Mansoor did to Linda Dixon not too long ago. So formidable is this field that it's entirely possible that Bever could be left without a place to sit when the music stops in November.
FRIDAY'S THE DAY - OR NOT
So, friends, Friday we will know if all these fine folks will actually stay in the race. If any of the incumbents fail to return their papers by that date the filing period extends into next week for any non-incumbent candidates to make their decisions. Then the door slams shut and the games begin.
FIRST FORUM IN TWO WEEKS
The first candidate forum will occur around the 20th of August. I've heard conflicting dates, so I'll get back to you on the actual time and date - which is when all the fun begins.