It’s no contest for some local office holders

The November election is more than two months away, yet congratulations already are in order for four local mayors, as well as for two Arroyo Grande City Council members who are running unopposed.

While write-in candidates still could emerge, it’s all but guaranteed this group of incumbents will be back for another term.

Uncontested elections are relatively common, but we can’t remember ever seeing so many major local races without any challengers.

This is no reflection on this particular group of candidates, but we hope this is a fluke. In politics, competition is healthy; as we’ve often said, we believe voters are best served by vigorous campaigns and clear choices on the ballot.

True, an uncontested race can be a vote of confidence — an indication that voters are satisfied with the status quo. Yet given the controversies that some local communities have faced, particularly Paso Robles (the departure of former Police Chief Lisa Solomon amid sexual harassment allegations) and Atascadero (Walmart), we expected more interest in the top spots.

Absent that, we’re glad to hear that candidates in the uncontested races still plan to reach out to voters.

“I’m going to campaign like Idid before because I feel like Ineed to get out there and get what the community is thinking — what they are happy with and what they aren’t happy with,” Paso Robles Mayor Duane Picanco told The Tribune. Good for him.

We should also point out that, while the ballot won’t be quite as crowded as expected, there still will be plenty of contested races.

Most cities will have council elections, and there also will be community college board, K-12 school board and special district races, in addition, of course, to the presidential election, statewide ballot measures and, closer to home, the contest between Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, and former state Sen. Abel Maldonado, R-Santa Maria.

As always, we welcome your thoughts on the candidates and the issues. Write us at letters@thetribunenews.com.