Rancho Mirage could have a crowded ballot in the April 10 election — if everyone who has pulled nomination papers actually files them.
Seven people, including three incumbents, have pulled paperwork for a possible run. Pulling the official nomination papers is the first step in becoming a candidate. Only after they complete and filed the nomination papers are they officially candidates.
By the close of business Friday, four Rancho Mirage residents – Michael Harrington, Robert Mueller, Brandon Ross and Katherine Spates – had pulled nomination papers, according to City Clerk Kristie Ramos.
“It is true I am interested in possibly running for the Rancho Mirage City Council, but I am not doing any interviews at this time,” Spates told Uken Report.
This is the second time Harrington, a family law attorney and Los Angeles native, is seeking election to the City Council. He ran unsuccessfully in 2016. He also ran for Riverside County Superior Court judge in 2014, but lost. He told Uken Report that he has every intention of filing his nomination papers.
“It is time for new council members,” Harrington said in an email interview. “I will prioritize public safety and road safety; shopping and downtown areas; housing and code enforcement. I will be transparent and civil. I will always put the welfare and best interests of our residents first.”
Ross has not returned requests for comment. Mueller could not be reached for comment Friday evening.
One of the driving forces reportedly behind the rush of candidates is the current City Council’s opposition to the controversial CV Link, $100 million, 50-mile transportation corridor in the Coachella Valley. In the bull’s-eye in incumbent City Councilman G. Dana Hobart, the City Council’s most outspoken critics of the CV Link. He has called it “a 20-to-30-foot-wide cement, steel and decomposed granite structure ….”
Hobart, first elected to the City Council in 2002, has also repeatedly said he supports the lawsuit that Palm Desert attorney Jim Ferguson filed to halt the CV Link. Ferguson alleges “illegal” funds are being used to build it; Hobart on more than one occasion has said Ferguson’s lawsuit “raised important legal issues.”
There are three City Council seats, each a four-year term, up for grabs in the April 10 election. Hoping to retain their seats on the five-member council are Hobart, Iris Smotrich and Charles Townsend Vinci. The remaining two City Council seats are now held by Richard Kite and Ted Weill.
The mayor is appointed every year on a rotational basis by the City Council; if re-elected, Hobart is poised to become the next mayor.
The nomination period, which opened Dec. 18, closes Jan. 12.
Would-be candidates must be 18 years of age, a U.S. citizen, and a registered voter residing within city limits at the time nomination papers are issued.
To schedule an appointment to “pull papers,” please contact the City Clerk’s Office at (760) 324-4511, Ext. 488.
There is no cost to receive and/or file nomination papers.
Townsend was elected to the Rancho Mirage City Council in 2014. From 2016, he was Mayor Pro Tem and on April 20, 2017, he was sworn in as the Mayor of Rancho Mirage.
Smotrich was first appointed by the Rancho Mirage City Council on July 7, 2011. In 2012, she ran unopposed and was reappointed by the City Council to serve for a two-year term. In 2014, she ran for office and won.
As of Dec. 12, the City of Rancho Mirage has 9,886 registered voters, according to the Riverside County Registrar of Voters. The last day to register to vote or transfer registration for the April 10, 2018 election is March 26, 2018.