Election season has officially begun for local cities

City clerk offices around the Valley are buzzing in excitement now that election season has officially arrived. Candidate filing for elected position throughout Riverside County began on Monday, July 14 for the November 4 general election.

“This is my favorite part of the job. The election cycle,” said Wildomar City Clerk Debbie Lee.

“I love seeing democracy in action; so many places in the world don’t have the ability to elect their local leaders,” Lee said. “The election cycle is the coolest process to watch.”

Anyone interested in running for offices on the Nov. 4 general election ballot have until 5 p.m. on Aug. 8 to file their papers.

City Clerk Kathy Bennett of Menifee said, “If an incumbent fails to file, the deadline for that office will be extended to 5 p.m. on Aug. 13, for everyone except the incumbent.

In Menifee, the city council seats open for election – which will be each for a four-year term – are, one from District 2 and one from District 4. The incumbent for District 2 is Tom Fuhrman and the incumbent in District 4 is John Denver. The mayor’s seat, currently held by Scott Mann, is also up for election.

“This is really the most exciting time of the year for us who work in the city clerk’s office,” said Bennett.

In Wildomar, the seats up for election are Councilmembers, Ben Benoit and Timothy Walker along with Mayor Marsha Swanson. The mayor’s seat however is appointed and not voted on by the constituents.

“The first day anyone could file was Monday and we were busy; Ben came in at 8 a.m., Marsha at 9 a.m. and Tim at 10 a.m.,” Lees said. “We had a fourth person pull papers Monday afternoon named Israel Leija.”

Temecula also has three council members seats open for election. The current incumbents are Maryann Edwards, Jeff Comerchero and Ron Roberts.

“Local elections are the level of democracy that effects people the most,” Temecula’s City Clerk Randi Johl-Olson said. “It is local government at its best.”

Incumbent Jeff Comerchero was the first person to pull papers on Tuesday, July 15, according to Johl-Olson.

Lake Elsinore will be voting for two seats up for election, currently held by incumbents Brian Tisdale and Daryl Hickman.

“We are rolling already and its only day two,” City Clerk of Lake Elsinore, Virginia Bloom.

Murrieta’s residents will be able to vote or pull papers for three council seats. The incumbents whose seats are open are, Rick Gibbs, Alan Long and Gene Wunderlich.

“We have been very busy and it is only day two. We had four people pull papers thus far,” said Murrieta’s City Clerk Sarah Manwaring.

Lee would like to remind people to make sure they registered properly or their votes will be invalid.

“Many people don’t realize that even if you moved and are in the same city you have to reregister,” she said. “The address has to match the signature or the vote does not count.”

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