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Carlsbad City Council races for the upcoming November election
Candidates are vying for treasurer, city clerk, mayor and two council seats in Carlsbad for the November general election. Photo by Steve Puterski
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Seven candidates vying for Carlsbad mayor, council seats

Clarification: Sam Ward filed a candidate intention statement on Jan. 4 for District 1. When contacted by the Coast News to confirm his intentions to run, Ward requested his name not be included in the story until he announced his candidacy later this month.

CARLSBAD — Candidates for mayor and two Carlsbad City Council seats are starting to emerge as the countdown continues toward this year’s election.

However, the electoral maps for the city’s voting districts have yet to be finalized, although they are expected to be approved in February, ahead of the April 17 deadline. Regardless, at least six candidates have declared intentions to run for mayor and council seats in districts 1 and 3. The other two positions up for a vote are treasurer and city clerk.

Current Councilman Keith Blackburn is the lone mayoral candidate for the coming general election. Blackburn’s been on the council since 2008, losing a 2010 mayoral race to Mayor Matt Hall.

At least three people have declared for District 1, which is currently held by Councilman Peder Norby, who was appointed after the sudden resignation of Cori Schumacher in July 2021. Since District 1 came into being, there have been three council members to represent the district.

Norby is not allowed to run in the race, per a city ordinance passed last year. Those who are in the running so far, though, are Tracy Carmichael, Wesley Oksanen and Sam Ward.

Carmichael ran and lost in 2018 to Barbara Hamilton, who resigned less than one year into her term for family medical reasons. Carmichael also lost in the 2020 special election to Schumacher, who also failed to serve out the term. Carmichael previously served two terms on the Carlsbad Unified School Board.

Oksanen, meanwhile, is a political newcomer and a part-time sales associate for MedFlow and owner of Small Folk Co. and Free Branch, an event planning company. Ward is an attorney and attend

In District 3, incumbent Priya Bhat-Patel announced her intentions for keeping her seat last year after suspending her run for the state senate. Also in the race are Carlsbad Unified School Board Trustee Ray Pearson and Corrine Busta, who ran four years ago and lost to Bhat-Patel.

As for city clerk, the position is elected, although the City Council has put up the possibility of turning the job into a hired position by the City Manager. But as of now, the seat is up for election and candidates must meet specific requirements to run.

City Clerk Services Manager Faviola Medina said the City Council plans to address the issue, possibly by early February, to determine whether it should remain an elected seat or a hire job. Either way, she said the requirements remain regardless of the position’s classification.

Medina spent 18 months as the City Clerk in Poway but lives in Oceanside so she said she could not run for office in Carlsbad. All city candidates must live in the Carlsbad, according to state law.

The city treasurer job is currently held by Craig Lindholm, who has served since 2013. Lindholm did not reply to an email seeking confirmation if he will run again this year.

Several other Carlsbad candidates are rumored to have shown interest in the treasurer position but did not confirm plans to run or announce their candidacy as of deadline.

Meanwhile, Medina said all interested candidates must submit candidate intent statement and California Fair Political Practices Commission forms 410 and 501, which allow for a candidate to begin fundraising. The official filing timeline, she added, runs from mid-July to mid-August, although the city will set those dates in the coming weeks.

Additionally, the clerk’s office will verify a candidate’s eligibility, district and provide basic information. 

For information on running for office, contact the City Clerk’s office at [email protected].