Medical marijuana advocate Sue Lester announced Thursday that she is withdrawing her name from the Costa Mesa City Council race.
"Although I know I would be an asset to this city as a representative on council, I do not want to take the risk of standing in the way of other great, qualified candidates with good intentions," Lester wrote in a letter to the community. "Too many candidates can create the potential of a split vote, and I do not want that to happen."
Lester ran in 2010 and lost. This time around, she was one of eight candidates in the field after business consultant Marshall Krupp dropped out Aug. 1.
Seven candidates remain in the race for three seats.
Councilmen Gary Monahan and Steve Mensinger and Planning Commission Chairman Colin McCarthy all share the same vision for the city's future, which includes a smaller city payroll and a switch to a charter form of government. Though they say they are not a formal slate, political observers have termed them the "3Ms."
On the other side are former Mayor Sandy Genis, entrepreneur Harold Weitzberg and business attorney John Stephens, who oppose the city's direction and who all have the backing of the grassroots, bipartisan citizens group Costa Mesans for Responsible Government.
The seventh candidate, retired certified public accountant Al Melone, isn't aligned with either side.