Carlsbad mayoral race: Schumacher win could lead to special election

Carlsbad mayoral race: Schumacher win could lead to special election
Councilwoman Cori Schumacher speaks at the League of Women Voters' mayoral forum Monday, Sept. 24 in Carlsbad. If Schumacher defeats incumbent Matt Hall, the council may need to appoint a replacement or hold a special election. Photo by Shana Thompson

CARLSBAD — Residents may think the race to fill the City Council ends in November. But it could turn out the council may be short one seat for up to nearly six months.

The outcome of November’s general election could lead to a special election.

Should Councilwoman Cori Schumacher defeat incumbent Mayor Matt Hall, it would leave one open seat on the City Council. All the current City Council members were elected through the city’s previous at-large voting system.

Last year, though, Carlsbad moved to district elections, which are staggered, with Districts 1, 3 and mayor up this year. Schumacher, who lives in District 1, decided to run for mayor instead of in her district, which could leave the city with one less council member come November.

Districts 2 and 4 are still considered at-large seats and not up for election until 2020. Currently, Schumacher and Keith Blackburn hold those seats, but if Schumacher wins the mayoral race, it would open one seat on the council.

Under this scenario, and according to city code 2.04.030, the council must appoint a new council member within 60 days after the Dec. 11 swearing in of the general election victors.

If the council does not come to a consensus, meaning at least a 3-1 vote, by the 60-day deadline, a special election must be held within 114 days after the 60 days, per the city code. A 2-2 vote would represent no action by the council and the item would die.

Should the special election be called, it be would a citywide vote as the seat is still an at-large position, according to Sheila Cobian, Carlsbad City Clerk services manager.

“They would hold a special election to serve out the remainder of the term until 2020,” she added. “That seat would then become a District 4 seat. In November 2020, they would hold the District 2 and 4 elections.”

The last appointment from the City Council came in 2014 when Farrah Douglas stepped down and Michael Schumacher was appointed by the council. Additionally, Norine Sigafoose resigned in 2007 and Julie Nygaard was appointed.

As for the current situation, Cobian said any council member can nominate a registered resident to be considered for an appointment. Then the council would vote on a candidate for confirmation.

From there, should either an appointment or special election be called, the appointee or winner would serve the remainder of the term, less than two years, and would have to decide whether to run again in 2020 depending on whether they lived in District 4.

Cobian said she has had preliminary discussions with the San Diego County Registrar of Voters about the possibility of a special election. However, she declined to give a cost estimate as several factors are still in play.

“It’s too early to tell,” Cobian said. “They can’t tell until we come closer to the day. As you know, special elections are much more expensive than consolidating.”

Most notably, though, the divisive and controversial Measure A special election in February 2016 to determine whether a mall would be built on the south shore of Agua Hedionda Lagoon cost about $500,000. The measure was defeated.

8 Comments
  1. Addie 5 days ago

    Last time Hall chose to fill the seat with his handpicked guy. Watch his supporters scream when Cori wins. With Measure A they didn’t want to “waste” money on a Special Election. You can bet they’ll want one to fill that seat rather than see it go to someone they don’t like!

  2. Dee 5 days ago

    The difference is Measure A didn’t have to cost the City of Carlsbad so much. It was Hall who drove the special election, because he thought he had the support to do it. He wasted the citizen’s money.

  3. Brian McInerny 5 days ago

    Hall, M. Schumacher, K. Blackburn, M. Packard and L. Wood all voted in favor of NOT letting the public vote on Measure A. The Citizens forced a vote through a petition. Then the voters were heard. It is time for the voters to speak up again. Please vote for the person who can take Carlsbad to the future. Not the ones who failed to lead in the past.

  4. Addie 4 days ago

    Dee,
    I agree with you. My point is that Hall’s supporters are two-faced, which is no surprise since they follow his lead.

  5. Commish 4 days ago

    Mayor Matt Hall and Councilmembers Michael Schumacher and Mark Packard decided to spend $500K – $600,000 on the Measure A special election. It was an election strategy. What a waste of money!) They thought the No on A supporters had the disadvantage and surely Rick Caruso had an easy win. Holding the special election sooner rather than later (even though it meant spending over $1/2 million) was an attempt to make it difficult on us. Had Mayor Hall & the Councilmembers opted to wait 4 months longer, the special election would have only cost approx $90,000. Once again they were disrespecting the citizens of Carlsbad, throwing more of our money away than necessary.

  6. Rita Gray 4 days ago

    Same issue for Oceanside City Council District 1. If Sanchez wins, Council will be forced to either appoint a 5th member or wait 16 months for a special election, during which time there would be only 4 councilmembers.

  7. Julie 3 days ago

    If there is a special election, Mike Schumacher and Mark Packard should kick in all campaign $$ they got towards the campaigns they decided not to have in the elections that were designed with more respect to 2 individuals than to all the people in district 4 who deserve representation. If they don’t, that will be their clear legacy to a city both profess to care strongly about. We will see what they care about…

  8. Addie 2 days ago

    Schumacher has already donated most of his campaign money to Hall, Busta, and Carmichael so we know what his priorities are. You can see for yourself by checking on the city’s website if you can figure out how to access it.
    City Hall then Open Govt then Disclosure & Ethics then Campaign Financial Disclosures then you have to narrow your search. I swear they make it difficult to navigate on purpose so people won’t check but I check it all the time. As they so rightly say, follow the money…both where it comes from and where it goes. Did you know all Carlsbad Police are forced to donate money and then their PAC decides who gets the donation? Not too hard to see where that money is going….Hall, Busta, and Carmichael. Gee, I wonder why that is?

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