CARLSBAD — And then there were six — again.
Melanie Burkholder announced Wednesday she will no longer seek a seat on the city council.
The former Secret Service agent and small business owner jumped into the race several months ago citing her real world experience, fiscal conservatism and using technology to effectively and efficiently upgrade the city.
However, Burkholder said she didn’t see a clear path to victory going up against two strong incumbents in Keith Blackburn and Lorraine Wood. As a result, Burkholder withdrew from the race and gave her support to the two councilmembers.
“You want to make sure the right people get elected,” she said of her decision. “I’m a Republican, so I do want to support people that are in the Republican party and that means the incumbents.”
In addition, she said it’s not logical to stay in a race where there is little chance of winning.
Carlsbad has an at-large election, meaning residents may select any two candidates regardless of where they reside in the city.
If Burkholder were to remain in the race, votes would have been split, to a varying degree, between her and the two incumbents.
“It’s much better to throw your support behind the others that you think can pull through,” she said. “Carlsbad residents love this city and care deeply about changes coming.”
She said the controversial Measure A was a reason she jumped into the race and wanted to help the city move past the issue and look toward the city’s future. She commended the efforts of all sides during the campaign and election and said it lighted a spark between residents and local politics.
“Potentially, we could be determining city council candidates on a land use issue,” Burkholder said. “Knowing that there are going to be so many more people plugged into the process because of Measure A is encouraging.”
As for fundraising, she picked up a $2,500 donation and also had contributions totaling $4,000 since July 29, according to campaign disclosure forms.
Three others, meanwhile, had a significant advantage in donations as Blackburn’s war chest totals an ending cash balance of more than $135,000, while Wood was over $25,000 and Cori Schumacher at more than $10,000 according to financial statements. Donna Bower, however, was refunded a $6,000 donation from the Schumacher campaign on Sept. 3.
Blackburn and Wood are up squaring off against challengers Cori Schumacher (no relation to current councilman Michael Schumacher), Ann Tanner, Bill Fowler and Brandon Rowley.
As for any potential political future for the current therapist, Burkholder said she will remain engaged within the city, politics and non-profits.
“If the calling is there, I’m definitely not scared to take on the work,” she added. “I’m not going anywhere.”
Steve Puterski covers Carlsbad and Vista. For tips or story ideas, contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @StevePuterski.