Filings close — three races go to ballot

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

With the last of the candidate filing periods closed as of Wednesday evening, ballot items for Mayor, City Council and Indian Wells Valley Water District Board of Directors have been finalized for the Nov. 5 General Election.

A lack of contest in the IWV Airport District Board of Directors, Sierra Sands Unified School District Board of Education and Inyokern Community Services Director elections means that the incumbents who filed will be automatically appointed without going before the voting public.

Incumbents Peter Brown and Chuck Griffin, along with challengers Stan Rajtora and David Saint-Amand, are vying for the two open seats on the water board.

Peggy Breeden and Tom Wiknich will run for the two-year mayor seat.

Although nine candidates pulled papers to vie for two four-year seats on the City Council, only four will appear on the ballot. Incumbent Mike Mower will face challengers Reese Hogg III, Loren Scott Hayman and Steven Morgan.

Last week would-be challenger Mike Neel questioned the legitimacy of Mower’s filing, since he apparently had someone pull papers and circulate petitions in his absence. City officials maintained that Mower was within the guidelines as long as he submitted in person.

Neel obtained an opinion from a deputy in the Kern County District Attorney’s office that backed him up. But after City Manager Ron Strand sent the D.A. additional information on the pertinent election code, the D.A. agreed that the city had acted appropriately. In the end Mower completed the entire process again, in person, to ensure compliance.

Neel ultimately withdrew his candidacy. Challengers Scott Leahy and Amy Belasco also withdrew from the race.

Chip Holloway and Lori Acton, both of whom have served on previous councils, pulled papers for the race. According to City Clerk Ricca Charlon, neither completed the filing process by the Wednesday deadline.

The first candidate forum of the season has already been announced, with the Ridgecrest Republican Women Federated hosting council candidates at a Friday, Aug. 24, meeting from noon to 1:30 p.m. at Casey’s Steaks and Barbecue. For reservations call 760-608-3548.

Story First Published: 2018-08-17