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Santa Monica Mayor Likely Running for Re-Election
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Harding, Larmore
Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica


By Jonathan Friedman
Associate Editor

June 24, 2016 -- It appears Santa Monica Mayor Tony Vazquez will attempt to do something in November that he failed to do more than two decades ago -- win a second consecutive term.

Vazquez filed a campaign committee statement with the City earlier this month.

He did not respond to an email from The Lookout prior to the publication deadline to confirm he is definitely running, but it would be unusual for an incumbent to do otherwise after filing.

First elected to the council in 1990, Vazquez failed to win a second term four years later after the police union targeted him in a hard-hitting campaign.

Vazquez returned to the council in 2012 when he placed fourth in the election for four seats.

He became mayor, a mostly ceremonial position on the council, last fall after being appointed by his colleagues on the council. He served as mayor pro tem the previous year ("Santa Monica's First Latino Mayor Prepares to Take Office," November 30, 2015).

Vazquez was the first Latino elected to the council and the first to serve as the city’s mayor and mayor pro tem.

Many political observers consider Vazquez to be part of the slow-growth majority
on the council. He is also usually supportive of the UNITE HERE Local 11 union.

Vazquez is one half of a power couple in Santa Monica. His wife Maria Leon-Vazquez has served on the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District board since 2000.

She is also up for re-election this year, but has not confirmed if she would run.
With Vazquez included, there are three incumbents running for re-election to the council this year.

Ted Winterer and Gleam Davis are already in the contest. The fourth incumbent, Terry O’Day, has not said what he would do.

All four incumbents received the backing of the powerful Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights (SMRR) in 2012.

Davis and Winterer received the endorsement at the SMRR convention, while Vazquez and O’Day won the group's support from its steering committee a couple weeks later.

SMRR's backing is almost essential to getting elected in Santa Monica, although Pam O'Connor won her sixth term on the council in 2012 without its support.

Two years later, the powerful tenants group failed to endorse a candidate at its convention for the first time in nearly four decades after slow-growth advocates split their vote ("SMRR Fails to Back Santa Monica Council Candidates," August 4, 2014).

There will be added competition in the quest for SMRR’s endorsements this year with Planning Commissioner Jennifer Kennedy also in the mix.

She announced her candidacy earlier this week and was a SMRR endorsee in a failed council bid two years ago.

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