Less than half of county seats challenged
Only six of the 13 seats up for grabs in the upcoming primary election are contested, as of the CN&R’s deadline. Included in the six is the race for the assessor, which, as we reported last week (“Assessing the big race,” by Ken Smith, Feb. 6), has six candidates including current District 1 Supervisor Bill Connelly, whose term expires at the end 2016. If he wins, his seat will be filled via appointment by the governor.
The other contested races include that for superior court judge in Department 7, which is currently held by Sandra McLean. She is being challenged by attorney Eric Ortner. The two other judges up for election, Denny Forland and Michael Deems, each of whom were appointed to their seats, are not facing challengers.
The county supervisor seats currently occupied by Larry Wahl (District 2) and Maureen Kirk (District 3) are being challenged. Wahl, a former Chico City Council member, who defeated 30-year incumbent Jane Dolan in 2010, is facing real estate investor and medical-marijuana advocate Andrew Merkel. There had been rumors that Dolan would attempt to regain her old seat, but they were quelled with a letter dated March 7 in which she said she would not be running.
“Over the last several months many friends and community leaders have urged me to run for the Butte County Board of Supervisors,” she wrote, “as many Butte County residents are concerned about issues and concerns of deep commitment to me—the Greenline, neighborhood quality, safety and improvement, infrastructure needs, public safety, library improvements, respect for the people who provide our government services.
“I will continue to be involved and advocate for these issues that are important to me and our county. Yet I have decided not to run for public office at this time.”
Dolan was recently reappointed to the Central Valley Flood Protection Board by Gov. Jerry Brown, who first named her to the position in 2011.
Supervisor Kirk is facing former Chico City Councilman Bob Evans for the seat she has held since 2006. Evans was appointed to the council to fill the vacancy created when Wahl won his supervisor seat in 2010. Evans was defeated in his run for council in 2012.
County Clerk-Recorder Candace Grubbs, who’s held her seat for the past 27 years, is facing a challenger in Pamela Teeter, who works for the nonprofit agency Youth for Change. She is the wife of Butte County Supervisor Doug Teeter. This marks one of the few times Grubbs has faced a challenger for her job. She was recently in the news in connection to allegations of her and her assistant, Laurie Cassady, creating an uncomfortable workplace and Grubbs’ use of an employee for personal work. Teeter filed for the office the day after the story hit the press.
The other contested county race pits Treasurer-Tax Collector Peggy Moat, who was appointed to the job, against Kathleen Dwyer, who is the executive director of Terraces Senior Living in Chico.
Sheriff Jerry Smith announced last December that he would not run for re-election to the office he’s held since 2010, throwing his support to Undersheriff Kory Honea, who is not facing competition for the job.
District Attorney Mike Ramsey and Auditor-Controller David Houser are also running unopposed for their seats when the primary election is held June 3. (The filing deadline for seats in which the incumbent is not seeking re-election was hours beyond this paper’s deadline, so there’s a slim possibility more challengers may surface.)