REGION — The fields are set in the Encinitas and San Marcos city council races, and each race will be contested — some more than others.
Perhaps in the biggest surprise, Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear will not face a candidate with major name recognition in her bid for a second two-year mayoral term.
Blakespear’s lone challenger is John Paul Elliott, a 71-year-old real estate broker with no history of service on any city boards or commissions. Two other men who had pulled nomination papers, Zack Gaven Mair and Scott Graydon Carter, did not return their nomination papers and failed to qualify for the ballot.
The Coast News has emailed Elliott with questions and will update the story with his responses.
Blakespear said she looked forward to the election and his involvement.
“To my knowledge, I’ve never met or received any communication from John Paul Elliott and I don’t know anything about him or his interests,” Blakespear said in a newsletter to supporters. “I welcome him to the race, and I look forward to a positive and productive conversation about our local issues.”
Both Encinitas and San Marcos are hosting their first district-based elections, after years of residents electing their elected officials in citywide races. The changes come in the wake of a Malibu-based attorney threatening to sue cities and agencies across San Diego County alleging that their so-called “at-large” elections disenfranchised Latino voters.
The other Encinitas races have two candidates apiece: In District 4, which includes Olivenhain and portions of New Encinitas, incumbent Joe Mosca will face former judge and planning commissioner Tony Brandenburg.
In District 3, which includes Cardiff-by-the-Sea and a smaller portion of New Encinitas, incumbent Mark Muir faces current planning commissioner Jody Hubbard.
In San Marcos, each of the three races — mayor, District 1 and District 2 — have three candidates.
Current Vice Mayor Rebecca Jones and current Councilman Chris Orlando have been campaigning and fundraising for a number of months.
Bradley Zink, a prolific children’s author and vice president of fundraising at Twin Oaks Elementary School, also qualified for the ballot.
Jones, a Republican, has the endorsement of Mayor Jim Desmond, the Republican Party of San Diego and a host of area Republican officeholders. Orlando, conversely, has the Democratic Party endorsement and a corresponding number of Democratic officeholders.
Meanwhile in District 2 — where current Councilwoman Kristal Jabara announced she would not seek re-election — three prominent San Marcos officials are on the ballot. Vallecitos Water District board member Mike Sannella, Planning Commission Chairman Eric Flodine and current San Marcos Unified School District board member Randy Walton.
Both Flodine and Sannella are Republicans, but Jabara and the Republican Party have backed Sannella in the race.
In District 1, Craig Garcia, owner of the Old California Coffee House & Eatery in Restaurant Row, who has been campaigning since early 2017, is joined by Clifton Ireland Jr., who had announced intent to run earlier this year, and attorney Maria Nunez, who announced her candidacy June 1, qualified for the ballot Aug. 8.
Garcia and Nunez are aiming to become the first Latino council members in at least 20 years in San Marcos. In District 1, which encompasses most of the Richmar community, Latinos make up about 70 percent of the residents and 45 percent of the registered voters.