Candidate withdraws from third district race

NEWPORT BEACH — As the official nomination period nears, one candidate vying for a City Council seat has dropped out of a race and three other seats appear uncontested.

Steve Young, an attorney and three-time congressional candidate, announced Tuesday that he was withdrawing from the race for the third district, which covers the area west of Upper Newport Bay.

The announcement leaves two local businessmen competing to replace Councilman Don Webb, who is termed out this fall. Architect Rush Hill and pharmaceutical executive Ed Reno are already raising money for their campaigns.

"At first I was surprised because he has been a very aggressive campaigner in the past when he entered races," Hill said. "The color and the challenges that he would be adding to the race will be missed."

Young had campaigned for Democratic causes in the past, including for Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, while the other two candidates tout their Republican connections. Hill is a "Reagan-mentored fiscal conservative," according to his website, and Reno notes his position as counselor to Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and former Gov. Pete Wilson.

Reno's campaign had raised $60,000 as of June 30 and Hill had raised $81,000, according to the respective candidates. This is the first election where individual donors can contribute up to $1,000, up from the previous $500 limit.

In other council races, incumbents Nancy Gardner, Leslie Daigle and Michael Henn are all up for re-election. Thus far, no other candidates have filed paperwork indicating that they plan to run for those seats.

Others may enter the race during the formal nomination process, which begins Monday and lasts through Aug. 6. City Council candidates run for individual districts, while residents citywide vote on all races.

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