Date: Fri, 23 Jan 1998 17:20:30 -0800 (PST)
From: Kim Alexander
Subject: CA candidate filing deadlines are approaching!
Have you ever thought about running for office? Do you know someone who you think would be a good candidate? Well, the time to act is now because there has never been a better time for new players to enter California's political playing field. This edition of CVF-NEWS provides some background information on why California politics is going through such a profound shake-up period, along with important dates and deadlines that prospective candidates need to meet in order to qualify for the election.
BACKGROUND: WHY ALL THE SHAKE-UP?
A number of recent, dramatic changes in California's electoral process are causing a profound shake-up in California politics. Term limits are forcing many veteran state lawmakers to run for different seats, resulting in many "open" seats across the state where no incumbent will be seeking re-election. Dianne Feinstein's decision to stay out of the Governor's race has caused several other politicians to quickly decide their next moves. To give you an example of how this is playing out: Feinstein's withdrawal from the race has caused California Lieutenant Governor Gray Davis to firmly declare his candidacy for Governor. Now that Davis isn't seeking re-election for his seat, termed-out Assembly Speaker Cruz Bustamante has decided he will seek the Democratic Party's nomination for Lieutenant Governor. Bustamante's decision has prompted the Assembly Democrats to select a new Assembly Speaker, Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles.
As longtime political observers know, elections often appear to be a game of musical chairs: one politician attempts to move to the next seat, and the guy who's one rung down on the ladder makes an attempt to fill the open seat. The extraordinarily high number of legislative open seats in 1998 will surely attract a high number of local officeholders -- city councilmembers, county supervisors, etc. -- leaving those local seats vacant and open to newcomers.
LOOMING CANDIDATE DEADLINES
Many politicians in California are now scrambling to make their final decisions and announce their candidacies, as important filing deadlines loom on the horizon. There are some significant differences between the filing requirements for state races and federal races. Here is a review:
CANDIDATE FILING REQUIREMENTS FOR STATE OFFICES
To qualify for the ballot, candidates for contests for state offices*** must file two documents: a Declaration of Intention and a Declaration of Candidacy. Below are the deadlines for filing these documents, along with information about possible extensions of these deadlines.
1. Declaration of Intention: The California Secretary of State's Election Division begins accepting Declarations of Intention on MONDAY, JANUARY 26. The filing deadline for this document is WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 4th. Only candidates who have filed Declarations of Intention can go on to file Declarations of Candidacy. Filing a Declaration of Intention does not commit the filer to the race. A prospective candidate who files a Declaration of Intention must pay a filing fee, or the candidate may submit a specified number of signatures and have the filing fee waived. Contact the Secretary of State's office or your local county elections office to find out the exact fee or signatures required in lieu of filing fees for a specific office.
2. Declaration of Candidacy: State candidates who have filed a Declaration of Intention before the February 4th deadline must next file a Declaration of Candidacy. Candidates may file their Declarations of Candidacy starting MONDAY, FEBRUARY 9th, 1998. The last day to file a Declaration of Candidacy is FRIDAY, MARCH 6th 1998.
IMPORTANT: If the incumbent of a state office does not file a Declaration of Intention for his or her office before the February 4th deadline, the deadline is extended five days. If the incumbent files a Declaration of Intention but fails to file a Declaration of Candidacy by the March 6th deadline, that deadline is also extended five days. NOTE: this extension does not apply to termed-out state lawmakers or incumbents in federal offices.
(***State offices include Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Treasurer, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Controller, Superintendant of Public Instruction, Insurance Commissioner, Board of Equalization, all 80 Assembly seats, and the 20 even-numbered State Senate seats.)
CANDIDATE FILING REQUIREMENTS FOR FEDERAL OFFICES
Candidates for federal offices (i.e. congressional seats and the U.S. Senate race) are only required to file a Declaration of Candidacy. Federal candidates may file their Declarations of Candidacy starting MONDAY, FEBRUARY 9th, 1998. The last day to file a Declaration of Candidacy is FRIDAY, MARCH 6th 1998. This filing also requires a fee, which may be waived if the candidate collects a specified number of signatures. Candidates for federal office have until THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 19th to submit their signatures in lieu of filing fees.
A FINAL WORD OR TWO.....
The purpose of this summary is to provide a general overview for prospective candidates of important dates and deadlines. For specific information about where to file, qualifications for office, and campaign finance disclosure requirements, contact your local county elections office or the Secretary of State's Elections Division in Sacramento. You will also find a wealth of new information at the Secretary of State's web site at http://www.ss.ca.gov, including contact information for all 58 county elections offices in California.
Here's looking forward to a lively and spirited California election season!
-- Kim Alexander, Executive Director, California Voter Foundation
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