Debbie Arnold, who narrowly lost to Jim Patterson in the 2008 election for San Luis Obispo County's 5th District supervisor, announced today that she will challenge him again next year.
Until Thursday, Arnold worked in the San Luis Obispo office of state Sen. Sam Blakeslee, R-San Luis Obispo. She left her position as a field representative to focus on her own campaign.
Arnold, 56, is from a Pozo ranching family that grows hay, beef cattle and wine grapes. She operated a preschool in Atascadero for 17 years and had worked for Blakeslee since he won election to the state Assembly in 2004.
Arnold said her message for the upcoming election is similar to the last go-around: a need for open and transparent government, protection of the county’s rural character and its natural resources with sensible laws, and promotion of a healthy business community.
Arnold lost to Patterson by 349 votes the last time around. The outcome this time, as in previous elections, could determine the county’s approach to growth issues.
Many North County political observers expected Atascadero Mayor Tom O’Malley to challenge Patterson, but he said in September that family matters had closed that path, leaving the door open for Arnold.
The 5th District includes Atascadero, a portion of San Luis Obispo, and the unincorporated communities of Creston, South Atascadero, Garden Farms, Santa Margarita, Pozo and California Valley.