SLO County elections 2016: City council and mayoral races set

The list of candidates who will run in the Nov. 8 election for local races in San Luis Obispo County is now final.
The list of candidates who will run in the Nov. 8 election for local races in San Luis Obispo County is now final. lholden@thetribunenews.com

Correction: A previous version of the story incorrectly reported a candidate for San Luis Obispo Mayor. Donald Hedrick did not receive enough signatures to qualify for the ballot.

And just like that, the races are set.

With the deadlines now past in all cities for candidates to file paperwork declaring an intention to run for political office in the Nov. 8 general election, the fields have been finalized for all city council and mayoral races across San Luis Obispo County. The filing deadline was last Friday, unless an incumbent chose not to run for re-election — which happened in most cities. In those cases, the deadline was extended to Wednesday.

Here’s a quick look at who is running in your city:

Arroyo Grande

The race to govern Arroyo Grande is unchanged from a Tribune report last week, with seven candidates running for public office in the South County city.

Two candidates are running for mayor: incumbent Jim Hill and retired teacher Richard Waller.

Five candidates are running for two City Council seats: incumbent Kristen Barneich, newcomer LeAnn Akins, Planning Commissioner John Mack, former county Supervisor Caren Ray and Traffic Commissioner Ken Sage.


Another candidate jumped into the Atascadero mayoral race over the past week: Nicholas Mattson will challenge incumbent Tom O’Malley for mayor, along with businesswoman Ann Ketcherside, who unsuccessfully ran for the City Council in 2012. O’Malley is seeking a third term.

Four candidates are running for two available City Council seats: incumbent Roberta Fonzi, who is seeking a second term; Planning Commissioner Charles Bourbeau; and businessmen Bret Heinemann and Daniel Eister.

Grover Beach

The Grover Beach City Council race got more competitive over the past week.

Two seats are available. For much of the nomination period, it appeared incumbent Councilman Jeff Lee would be running unopposed, and the second seat would have an appointed candidate because of a lack of candidates.

Following Wednesday’s extended deadline, however, the competition expanded to include two more candidates: former Grover Beach Mayor and 3rd District Supervisor candidate Debbie Peterson and IRS Revenue Officer Terry Wingate.

Mayor John Shoals is running for re-election and is being challenged by Councilman Ronald Arnoldsen, a former mayor.

Morro Bay

Three candidates are running for mayor of Morro Bay: incumbent Jamie Irons, former Councilwoman Betty Winholtz and Tina Metzger.

Four people will face off for the two open City Council seats: Laura Cogan, Robert “Red” Davis, Marlys McPherson and Richard E.T. Sadowski.

Paso Robles

City Council incumbents in this city decided to run for re-election, so the candidate filing deadline was last week.

That means the field for two City Council seats in Paso Robles remains as previously reported: incumbents Steve Gregory and Fred Strong, as well as one-time Pismo Beach mayoral candidate Kevin Kreowski.

Pismo Beach

After a calm start, the race to join the Pismo Beach City Council exploded over the past week.

On Friday, three candidates had filed their candidacy papers — one for mayor and two for the two available City Council seats.

By Wednesday, that field grew to seven.

Notably, former county Planning Commissioner Sandra Gore Nielsen withdrew her application to run for City Council, and will instead challenge Councilman Ed Waage for mayor. Both candidates will seek to replace outgoing Mayor Shelly Higginbotham, who announced early this year that she would not be seeking re-election after 14 years with the city.

Running for the two City Council spots are incumbent Erik Howell, Seaside Gallery owner Tom Burgher, real estate agent Marcia Guthrie, attorney Brian Craig Kreowski and former Pismo Beach Planning Commissioner Kate Shurson.

San Luis Obispo

The city of San Luis Obispo’s race for public office is unchanged from previous reports, with a total of eight contenders vying for three seats.

Two people are running for mayor: incumbent Jan Marx and former Assembly candidate Heidi Harmon.

Six people are running for the two open City Council seats: Michael Clark, Aaron Gomez, Christopher Lopez, Andy Pease, Brett Strickland and Mila Vujovich-La Barre.

Kaytlyn Leslie: 805-781-7928, @kaytyleslie