San Luis Obispo City Council races off to early start

The political season has opened in San Luis Obispo with Mayor Jan Marx and Councilman Andrew Carter announcing they will both seek the mayoral seat in November.

Councilman Dan Carpenter also announced his intention to seek re-election to the San Luis Obispo City Council. When asked, Councilman John Ashbaugh said he would also seek re-election.

The announcements come early; the official filing period for the three available council seats doesn’t begin until mid-July. At stake are two four-year council seats belonging to Ashbaugh and Carpenter and the mayoral seat, which is a two-year term.

Marx, who announced her intent Tuesday night, said she was prompted to do so by her desire to remain involved in the city’s update of its guiding plan for land use and traffic, which won’t be finished until after her term expires.

“There are several extremely important projects in which I am leading the way, which cannot be concluded by the end of 2012,” Marx wrote in a news release. “Therefore I have decided to seek another term.”

Carter said he had been planning to run for the mayoral seat but had hoped to wait until later in the year to announce. He said he felt he needed to do so now that Marx announced her intent.

Carter is in the middle of a four-year council term. If he were to win the mayoral seat, it would be up to the City Council to appoint a person to fill the remainder of his term.

“I just felt the time was now,” Carter said. “I think the largest issue is financial leadership, and that is where I shine. If the city was facing different issues, I might have chose to wait until the end of my term.”

Carpenter and Marx both submitted statements of intention to City Clerk Elaina Cano. Those forms simply make it clear that they plan to run, allowing them to start accepting contributions and planning fundraisers.

Carpenter was appointed to the council in December 2010 to complete the remainder of Marx’s term after she successfully ran for mayor. He narrowly lost in a race for a council seat in November of that year.

Ashbaugh will seek re-election but said he didn’t have any plans at this point to make a “dramatic announcement.” Instead, he said he planned on a “shoe leather campaign” of walking through neighborhoods and talking with residents.

Candidates must submit official intentions between July 16 and Aug. 10 to qualify for the council races.

Reach AnnMarie Cornejo at 781-7939. Stay updated by following @a_cornejo on Twitter.