San Luis Obispo City Council candidate John Spatafore has dropped out of the race a month after entering it, saying he did not want to splinter the vote.
“After thoroughly discussing it with my wife, Deborah, we agreed that my presence in the race may splinter a vote, causing further divisiveness,” Spatafore said Monday in a news release.
Spatafore, a local attorney and civic leader, announced his bid in March for the council seat vacated by Andrew Carter. Carter stepped down in February to take a full-time job as the city administrator of Guadalupe.
“My concern was over how the election was playing out and how it was perceived,” said Spatafore, who said he felt he stood on similar ground on issues with candidates Carlyn Christianson and Paul Brown — the two candidates emerging at the top of the race.
On Monday evening, Spatafore told The Tribune he would not endorse any of the candidates.
“Now you’ve got two choices, where do you want to go?” Spatafore asked. “The finish may have been a wild horse race. Now (the candidates) have to prove their case to the people. I feel that the way it was developing was more divisiveness.”
“Those who remain have to sell themselves as a positive voice for the city,” Spatafore said. “There are a lot of issues that are uncomfortable to talk about when you look at how things are functioning now in city government.”
The remaining candidates are: Brown, a police officer in Guadalupe and a former San Luis Obispo councilman; Christianson, a former city planning commissioner who is serving her fifth year on the county Planning Commission; Donald Hedrick, an artisan and community advocate who has run unsuccessfully for the City Council twice and for mayor twice; and Kevin Rice, a Los Angeles County firefighter who ran for the council and lost in November.
The special vote-by-mail election will be held May 20 to June 18. The results will be announced no later than July 12.
“I challenge the remaining candidates to commit to solutions that are reasonable and that represent the best decision for the entire city,” said Spatafore.