Wednesday, October 27, 2021

California is having its first-ever mayor’s race (and no one is very happy about it)

A primary, or election to elect a mayor, is a decentralized process administered by elected boards. The nominations for city councils and mayoral races are voted on directly. Those votes are counted by city councils and can be multiplied by three to determine an election. Last week, Inland Empire resident Dr. Inayat Baig decided to try her luck on local elections: a primary to elect the mayor of Redlands, her community’s highest-ranking elected official.

She registered to run for office at the same time as midterm elections, and registered her mayoral primary as an election: she’d race the field of four to be the city’s next chief executive. Her vote count is likely to decide who occupies the mayor’s office in the city of more than 60,000, located about 25 miles east of Los Angeles. She chose the mayor’s race over the City Council election—which saw five candidates vying for the five open seats—because the mayor’s office is the highest-ranking official in the city, and a mayor controls a majority of city council members. The city council has only five members—three more than necessary to approve anything the mayor desires.

Baig and city officials agreed she could run for mayor in the mayor’s primary, though it was not official. Running independently of the city council, she won over 1,400 votes out of 15,000 (about 5% of registered voters). City officials are to endorse a mayoral candidate during the city’s municipal election next month.

But the city did not recognize her candidate, and did not publish a mayor’s candidate’s list. Baig said the city has stopped emailing her updates on candidates’ qualification for office, and she is not sure what the city is doing to keep it confidential. The city did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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