Updated update. This post has been changed severl times to reflect the latest developments. Apologies to subscribers who may have received duplicate emails. Updated 12:09 p.m. Rep. Salud Carbajal endorsed City Council member Cathy Murillo for mayor on Wednesday, the first prominent Democrat who had previously rested on the sidelines to jump abruptly into the tangle of three party candidates now trailing Republican Frank Hotchkiss.
As recently as three weeks ago, Carbajal said that he had no plans to get involved in the mayor's race (or with Measure C, the sales tax increase on which he's taken a pass for fear of getting clobbered with it by Republicans in next year's mid-term). As we reported Monday, however, pressure to endorse the party-backed Murillo has grown intense on previously uncommitted elected officials, since Newsmakers published its poll showing Hotchkiss the nominal leader in a five-person field including the Democratic trio of Murillo, Hal Conklin and Bendy White.
One big connection between Carbajal and Murillo: they share the same top-rank campaign consultant, Mollie Culver. As a tactical matter, Culver's success in getting Salud's nod to Cathy made public several hours before the Independent delivered its coveted endorsement to mayoral rival Hal Conklin was a nice piece of one-upsmanship that stepped on Hal's story.
Here's the nice words about Cathy that Salud dispatched from Washington:
"As City Councilmember, Cathy Murillo has served as a leader in our community and a strong ally in the fight to protect our environment, create economic opportunities for working families, and improve public safety. She is an effective advocate and unifier for our many distinct Santa Barbara neighborhoods. I am pleased to support Cathy for Mayor."