CARLSBAD — Something quite historic occurred at the city of Carlsbad. For the first time ever, no traditional race to fill the two vacant seats on the City Council will happen because there is no opposition. That’s right, no candidate forums or campaigns.
The two candidates, current Councilman Keith Blackburn and Carlsbad City Clerk Lorraine Wood, will settle into these open seats because nobody else officially filed for them.
According to Carlsbad’s Assistant City Clerk Karen Kundtz, originally five individuals took out papers to run for City Council in hopes of vying for a spot. But in the end, only Blackburn and Wood completed their paperwork and qualified for the Nov. 6 election ballot.
“Looking back at reports, this is the first time that anyone for council has run uncontested,” Kundtz said. “Certain years they’ve had a city clerk or city treasurer that went uncontested but this is the first time for the City Council.”
Mayor Pro Tem Ann Kulchin, who has been a City Council member since 1980, made the decision not to run another term.
Kundtz said a new mayor pro tem is usually chosen by the mayor after the election. And that person typically carries seniority on the City Council.
“I am very excited for Lorraine and she is going to be great addition to the council,” Blackburn said. “It is bittersweet. We are sad we are losing Ann and we are happy that we’re getting Lorraine.”
Blackburn, who will be serving his second term as a council member, pointed out that he was shocked to hear that only two people filed their paperwork for candidacy.
“I have been watching how many people are filing for the open seats in my neighboring cities and for us to have two seats open and only two people apply is unheard of,” he said.
For Blackburn though, not being part of a traditional race really doesn’t ease up his schedule. He said the only thing that really changes is spending less money but the time spent with meeting community members still stays the same.
Wood, a city clerk for 12 years, believes her early preparations to run for a designated City Council seat gave her a jumpstart lead. It first began with collecting as many endorsements as she could. Some of these endorsements included the Carlsbad City Council, former Carlsbad Mayor Bud Lewis and local businesses.
“I think the City Council endorsement, city endorsement, raising money and having a fantastic team of people working with me and doing ‘meet and greets’ really helped,” she said. “I put together a wonderful volunteer team.”
Like Blackburn, Wood’s calendar is full. Wood said a lot of people in Carlsbad may not know who she is and she wants to change that. She needs to go out and meet new people every day.
“I still plan to go door to door, talking to folks and handing out flyers,” Wood said. “The work doesn’t stop.”
Wood said that before she gets sworn in as a new City Council member in December, she will resign as city clerk.
Wood added she is looking forward to this new chapter in her life. As an elected city clerk, she thought from the start she could offer a unique voice to the city council while bringing a great deal of experience into this new role.
Above all, Wood wants to bring more businesses to Carlsbad, keep government efficient, enhance the vibrancy of the Village, encourage open space and provide recreational areas for kids.
“There are issues that I am really passionate about,” she said.