Two candidates dropped from race

Two candidates have been dropped from the Huntington Beach City Council race because they lacked enough signatures to qualify, the city clerk's office said Wednesday.

Frst-time candidates Matthew Briggs and Marcus Giordano, who announced their candidacy shortly before the deadline to file paperwork Friday afternoon, did not have enough signatures to make the ballot, Assistant City Clerk Robin Lugar said. Giordano had said earlier in the week that he planned to withdraw his candidacy due to other obligations, but Lugar said he and Briggs already lacked the 20 signatures required.

Another last-minute challenger, William Grunwald, did make the cut for the November ballot. Grunwald, a general counsel for Tracy Industries in Whittier, said he opted to run this year because he felt the council was out of touch with residents' needs.

"What I'm hoping is that those residents who are tired of the same old story and same old people over and over again are looking for someone new from the outside," he said. "I've never been involved in politics in my life."

As of now, there are 20 candidates vying for four open seats in the November election. The huge candidate turnout, Lugar said, was understandable in a year when Mayor Cathy Green, Mayor Pro Tem Jill Hardy and Councilman Gil Coerper are all set to be termed out. Councilman Joe Carchio is also seeking reelection.

"When they have four seats open and people are termed out, it tends to be a big turnout," Lugar said.

The other candidates for City Council are Blair Farley, Bruce Brandt, Dan Kalmick, Landon Fichtner, Billy O'Connell, Heather Grow, Norm Westwell, Erik Peterson, Bill Rorick, John Von Holle, Shawn Roselius, Joe Shaw, Fred Speaker, Andrissa Dominguez, Jim Katapodis, Barbara Delgleize and Matthew Harper.

T. Gabe Houston also filed to run for city attorney and is the only candidate opposing incumbent Jennifer McGrath.

Houston, who runs the private practice Houston Law of California in Santa Ana, said he submitted his paperwork because he disagreed with some of McGrath's decisions and wanted to give voters an alternative.

"I hate seeing an uncontested election," he said. "I feel it's undemocratic, and I don't want to see it with a candidate who, in my opinion, isn't conducting herself the way a person in her position should."

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