By KAREN VELIE
The ballot is now set for candidates vying for powerful government positions in San Luis Obispo County, as the deadline for new candidates has passed.
CalCoastNews has compiled a list of those running in the June 7 primary election when voters will help determine the fate of local water rights and basin management, health mandates and the spending of millions in tax payer dollars. While a handful of seats remain uncontested, others are highly coveted.
Expect to see a deluge of negative advertising from the campaigns and special interest groups – with some having raised hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Several candidates have faced controversies regarding connections to former supervisor Adam Hill and marijuana mogul Helios Dayspring, a man who pled guilty to bribing Hill.
Following Dayspring’s indictment, most candidates stopped taking money from questionable cannabis businesses. Even so, a crop of political action and recipient committees have filed to collect donations, which they then spend on advertisements promoting their preferred candidates.
A cannabis business tied to corruption can donate money to a committee that then runs an advertisement promoting a pro-cannabis candidate, though the candidate appears unconnected to the controversial business.
“Central Coast Residents for Good Government” is a recipient committee.The group’s principle officer Mollie Culver was the cannabis industry’s chief lobbyist in Santa Barbara County for two years.
Topping many election watchers’ lists is the District 2 supervisor race, with incumbent Bruce Gibson accusing his opponents of MAGA connections. In turn, his critics argue Gibson is tarnished by his previous close connection to Hill, cannabis and corruption.
California randomly draws letters for name placement on the ballot. Being listed first on the list is the most advantageous, while last is second best. Those in the middle are at a disadvantage. CalCoastNews has listed the candidates in the order they will appear on the June ballot.
Below are the SLO County candidates in the June election:
SLO County Supervisor, District 2
Bruce Gibson, county supervisor
Geoff Auslen, small business owner
John Whitworth, small business owner
Bruce Jones, community volunteer
SLO County Supervisor, District 3
Arnold Ruiz, retired
Stacy Korsgaden, small business owner
Dawn Ortiz-Legg, appointed SLO County supervisor
SLO County Supervisor, District 4
Jimmy Paulding, businessman and council member
Lynn Compton, county supervisor
SLO County Clerk Recorder
Elaina Cano, county clerk recorder, appointed
James Baugh, military consultant
Stewart Jenkins, election law lawyer
Superior Court Judge Office 12
Paul Phillips, attorney/rancher
Mike Frye, deputy district attorney
Below is a list of uncontested races:
SLO County Assessor Tom Bordonaro
SLO County Auditor Controller James Hamilton
SLO County Sheriff Coroner Ian Parkinson
SLO County District Attorney Dan Dow
SLO County Superintendent of Schools Jame Brescia
Superior Court Judge Gayle Peron, Office 1
Superior Court Judge Office 10, Erin Childs