SLO Councilman Andrew Carter drops bid for mayor's post

Andrew Carter
Andrew Carter jmellom@thetribunenews.com

Citing personal and financial reasons, San Luis Obispo City Councilman Andrew Carter has withdrawn from November’s mayoral race, leaving incumbent Jan Marx facing two possible contenders.

Carter, 55, will remain on the council. His term ends in 2014 and, due to term limits, he wouldn’t be able to run again at that time. He announced his campaign for mayor shortly after Marx declared her intent to run again in January — making for an extremely lengthy campaign season.

He said Tuesday that he hoped to fill the top leadership role on the City Council to ensure “there wouldn’t be any backsliding” from the tough budget decisions and future goals it has set for San Luis Obispo.

Carter has long advocated for the city to reduce its pension costs and was one of the most vocal council members in support of two measures regarding binding arbitration and pension reforms, which voters approved last year.

The City Council has slashed its budget over the past four years to stay solvent, including making cuts to employee compensation. Last November, Carter voted against spending $786,500 to make aesthetic upgrades to two blocks downtown (the issue passed on a 3-2 vote, with council member Kathy Smith also dissenting).

Carter, who also teaches part time at Cuesta College, released a statement Tuesday morning announcing his decision to withdraw.

“Although it is an honor to serve on City Council, that service comes at great personal and financial cost to my family and me,” he said.

“Continuing to run for mayor and being elected mayor would only add to that cost. I apologize for making this decision so late in the campaign process.”

He does not expect to run again once his term expires.

“Never say never, but my assumption is I will serve out my two years and basically try to find something that will pay the college bills,” said Carter, who has four children ages 12 to 22.

To run for council by the Aug. 10 deadline, interested San Luis Obispo residents must first file a statement of intention and then turn in nomination papers with 30 signatures from local registered voters.

Marx has filed her nomination papers and the City Clerk’s Office and is in the process of verifying the signatures. Two others have submitted official intention statements but have not turned in nomination papers: Donald Hedrick, who ran unsuccessfully for City Council twice before and for mayor once, and Oren Levy.

Two council seats are also open in November. Incumbents Dan Carpenter and John Ashbaugh have signaled their intent to run for re-election. They will face Jeff Aranguena, a teacher at Pacific Beach High School and assistant treasurer of the San Luis Obispo County Democratic Party, according to that organization’s website.