Several have pulled papers to run for office in Merced

Three City Council seats, mayor race draw interest

tmiller@mercedsunstar.comAugust 1, 2013 

— Merced's November election had its first candidate file all the required paperwork last week, and a couple of newcomers pulled papers for other races.

Merced Councilman Noah Lor, a clinician for the Merced County Department of Mental Health, is the first to fulfill the requirements to get his name on the ballot as of Monday. He is running for mayor.

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

Seven others have pulled papers in the races for council and mayoral seats.

UC Merced lecturer Chris Ramirez and homemaker Monica Kay Villa are the newest additions to the list of hopefuls who have pulled paperwork but have not returned it.

Three of the six council seats and the mayoral seat are up for election this year.

Incumbent Mayor Stan Thurston and incumbent Councilman Josh Pedrozo pulled papers for re-election July 15. Thurston was elected in 2011. He retired from practicing law in 1999, and is co-owner of the aviation business Gemini Flight Support.

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

Thurston and Pedrozo hadn't filed their paperwork as of Monday.

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

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

Other newcomers to Merced elections are David Alcaraz, a retired Merced police detective; Kevin Blake, a Merced County sheriff's sergeant; and Jana Mowrer, a home health care manager for Lamerson Landy Care.

UC Merced graduate student Josh Franco has voiced his intention to vie for office but had not pulled election paperwork as of Monday.

On the November ballot, voters will be given the option to change the city's elections from odd-numbered years to even years.

Merced stands alone in the area in holding elections in odd-numbered years. A switch would allow Merced to split election costs with other districts, according to officials.

Voter participation is higher in 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, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

Election Day is Nov. 5.

Reporter Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or tmiller@mercedsunstar.com.

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