2 will vie for Merced mayor; still time to join council race

tmiller@mercedsunstar.comAugust 11, 2013 

— The deadline to declare to run for mayor in Merced arrived Friday, but hopefuls for a council seat still have a few days to complete the election paperwork.

Because Councilman Bill Blake and Councilwoman Mary-Michal Rawling did not file for re-election, the deadline to vie for Merced City Council has been pushed back to Wednesday, according to the Merced County registrar of voters office.

The council race is shaping up with election paperwork filed by five candidates. Two others pulled papers but had not returned them as of Friday.

Those who pull paperwork to run for office are required to get 20 nomination signatures before officially filing to become candidates.

Newcomers David Alcaraz, a retired Merced police detective, and Henry Ildefonzo, an entrepreneur, have taken out papers. They have until Wednesday to file officially.

Incumbent Josh Pedrozo, a Merced High School teacher, filed his paperwork this week for re-election. He's been on the council since 2009.

Other Merced election newcomers to file paperwork to be on November's ballot are Kevin Blake, a Merced County sheriff's sergeant; Jana Mowrer, a home health care manager for Lamerson Landy Care; Chris Ramirez, a lecturer for UC Merced; and Monica Kay Villa, a homemaker.

The mayoral election will be a two-man race between incumbent Mayor Stan Thurston and sitting Councilman Noah Lor.

Thurston was elected in 2011. He is co-owner of the aviation business Gemini Flight Support.

Lor, a clinician for the Merced County Department of Mental Health, has been on the council since 2007.

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 also 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 a council seat 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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