RIVERBANK — No last-minute miracle kept the city from a special election for its City Council vacancy.
Friday was the deadline to fill the seat via the less costly appointment process. Because the council deadlocked on how to do this over the past two months, and no more meetings were scheduled, the city has issued the June 4 election notice.
The contest has drawn at least one likely candidate. Cal Campbell, the third-place finisher for two council seats in November, said he is "90 percent sure" he will run again.
Leanne Jones Cruz, who finished fourth in the seven-
person field, said she is thinking about running in June.
Candidates can start filing today to run for the seat, which was vacated by Richard O'Brien's election as mayor. The filing deadline is March 8.
The winner will serve the remaining year and a half of O'Brien's council term.
Several people had urged the council to appoint Campbell to the seat because of his strong showing in November. They said the move would save the city the cost of a special election, estimated at up to $57,000.
O'Brien and Councilwoman Jeanine Tucker voted to appoint Campbell or to open the appointment to all five losing candidates from November. Councilwomen Darlene Barber-Martinez and Dotty Nygard said the process should be open to all registered voters to ensure that it includes Riverbank's large Latino population.
Some people have speculated that former Mayor Virginia Madueño, who barely lost to O'Brien in November, might be interested in returning to the council. She could not be reached for comment.
The seat will be the only matter on the ballot, which could affect turnout. It was a relatively high 67.4 percent throughout Stanislaus County for the November election, which featured high-profile races for president and other offices.
This will be Riverbank's third special election in the past five years. Madueño won the vacant mayor's seat in 2009. Tucker won a March 2011 race to fill a council vacancy.
People wishing to run for the council should call the city clerk's office for an appointment. The filing period is from 8 a.m. today to 5 p.m. March 8. The office is at 6707 Third St., Riverbank. Information also is at www.riverbank.org.
Bee staff writer John Holland can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2385.