Municipal election filing period opens in Merced

tmiller@mercedsun-star.comJuly 16, 2013 

The filing period opened Monday for four Merced seats up for election in November.

The mayoral seat and three of the six Merced City Council positions are in the running.

Incumbent Mayor Stan Thurston and incumbent Councilman Josh Pedrozo pulled papers for re-election Monday, according to the Merced County Registrar of Voters' Office.

Those running for any of the elected offices must get 20 nomination signatures before filing to be a candidate. The filing period ends Aug. 9.

No other candidates pulled papers Monday.

Thurston was elected in 2011. He retired from practicing law in 1999, and is co-owner of an aviation business.

Pedrozo, a Merced High School teacher, has been on city council since 2009.

The terms of Councilman Bill Blake and Councilwoman Mary-Michal Rawling will expire this year.

Both Blake and Rawling have expressed no intention to run for re-election. They've both served since 2009.

During a forum in June, three others voiced their intentions to run for City Council.

Merced County Sheriff's Sgt. Kevin Blake, California State University, Fresno, graduate student Jana Mowrer and UC Merced lecturer Christopher Ramirez faced off during the June forum.

Josh Franco, a UC Merced graduate student, has expressed a desire to run for the mayoral seat.

The November election will also give voters the option to change the city's elections from odd-numbered years to even years.

Stacey Cotter, assistant registrar of voters, said Merced stands alone among area districts in holding elections on odd-numbered years. A move to even years would allow Merced to split election costs with other districts, she said.

Cotter said voter participation is also always higher on even years, when presidential and gubernatorial elections are held.

Updated unofficial candidate information is posted at www.co.merced.ca.us. Anyone interested in running for office can get more information at the registrar's office, 2222 M St., Room 14, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays.

Election Day is Nov. 5.

Reporter Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or by email at tmiller@mercedsun-star.com.

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