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  • Writer's pictureNewsmakers with JR

Dem Party Endorsement Deadlines Loom

Kudos to Democratic Party honcho Gail Teton-Landis, for undertaking to advise potential candidates for four Santa Barbara City Council seats that decision day for the county organization to make its waaay early endorsements is fast approaching.

Newsmakers has groused and grumbled for years that the party’s process for awarding its key endorsement, which often is pivotal in local races, is treated as a state secret.

More than a few candidates have complained in the past that information about the procedure was barely promulgated outside a close circle of party insiders, or much beyond the ken of the vast audience of loyal readers of the SB Democrats' web site.

With a majority of council seats on the November 5 ballot, however, Landis this time out is spreading the word, sending out news releases and giving a heads up to what passes for the local political press corps, that the deadline for candidates to apply for an endorsement in District 3 is March 31; the last chance for those running in Districts 1, 2 and 6 likely will be in May.**

Gail’s announcement, alas, does nothing to address the inconvenient fact that the endorsements still come months before the deadline to, you know, actually register to run for the office, and before candidates are even allowed to pull papers to mount a campaign.

But Newsmakers’ Mr. Cranky Pants is a glass-half-full kind of guy, so applause and approbation for the glasnost and transparency.

Shape of the race. Voters in four districts will select representatives in the fall:

  • District 1 council member Jason Dominguez is up for re-election on the Eastside, and look for the Dems to back someone to try to knock him off, given Jason’s, um, iconoclastic attitude towards the party line. (Dominguez also is keeping an eye out for the imminent decision of Assemblyhuman Monique Limon, whose choice of whether to seek re-election next year, or to go for the state Senate seat of termed out Hannah Beth Jackson, could create an entertaining round of political musical chairs. But we digress).

  • District 2 incumbent Randy Rowse is termed out on the Mesa. Independent-minded and pro-business, Randy has little use for partisan water-carrying and decision making on council, so the Dems would love to pick up this seat.

  • District 3 incumbent Oscar Gutierrez is running for a full term on the Westside after winning a special election last year, crucially aided by the party endorsement, to fill the vacancy created when party loyalist Cathy Murillo was elected mayor. Oscar has yet to utter a single word on council in conflict with Democratic orthodoxy and is a mortal lock to be endorsed again.

  • District 6 appointed incumbent Meagan Harmon, whom the council picked last month to fill Supervisor Gregg Hart’s old seat, is expected to run for the last two years of the four-year term he won in 2017. Although she previously had few strong party ties, Harmon in her first major vote immediately fell in line behind the Democratic effort to ram through a pro-union Project Labor Agreement system for public works projects, which doubtless will earn her some good will in the looming endorsement process.

Landis advises candidates who want the party’s endorsement process to check out details on the Democrats’ web page at

“We look forward to encouraging new and experienced candidates to run for seats on the Santa Barbara City Council,” she said.

Plenty of free parking.


** This post has been updated with clarifying information from the Democratic Party about its several deadlines for endorsement deadlines.

Images: Gail Teton-Landis; And they're Off!; Democratic donkey kong.

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