Politics & Government

Morro Bay resident files papers to challenge Salud Carbajal for congressional seat

U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal speaks during a February town hall meeting in Arroyo Grande.
U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal speaks during a February town hall meeting in Arroyo Grande. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

With the 2018 primary election about 14 months away, a Morro Bay resident and former city councilman in Fresno has filed papers to challenge newly elected U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal for the 24th Congressional District seat.

Michael Erin Woody, a Republican and local civil engineer, filed a statement of candidacy Thursday.

Reached via Facebook on Tuesday, Woody wrote that he has not made a final decision on whether he will wage a full Congressional campaign, but said that he “filed in order to give me the flexibility to seriously explore this race.” He said he won’t make a final decision until late summer.

In a brief bio sent to The Tribune, Woody says he graduated from Fresno State with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and has a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University. He served on the Fresno City Council from 1993 to 1997 and worked on Congressional campaigns of Katcho Achadjian and Chris Mitchum.

Woody is president of San Luis Obispo-based Struct One Engineering & Construction, and listed economics, agriculture and environmental preservation as three of his key areas of interest.

Michael Erin Woody
Michael Erin Woody in 2002. Fresno Bee file photo

“We need unique representation for a unique area of the country, and, if I do decide to run, I want to take that concept back to Washington,” Woody wrote.

He has not begun fundraising.

Carbajal, on the other hand, has already raised $567,695 and spent $73,029 between Jan. 1 and March 31, according to campaign disclosures from his political action committee.

Carbajal won his seat in November by a 7-point margin against Republican Justin Fareed. The district, which encompasses San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties as well as a sliver of northern Ventura County, slightly favors Democrats but came within 3 percentage points of going to a Republican in 2014.

On Tuesday, Carbajal’s re-election committee used Woody’s campaign filing to drum up financial support from donors.

“If Democrats are going to take back the House in 2018, we must protect every seat we currently hold,” a mass email sent to subscribers reads. “And that means making sure Salud Carbajal is re-elected.”