When volunteers fanned out across Bakersfield’s Ward 5 in recent weeks asking residents to support a special election to fill the seat left vacant by the tragic death of Bakersfield City Councilman Jeff Tkac, they noticed something interesting.
“People were asking, ‘Who’s running for that position? Can I run?’” said Rob England, president of the Kern, Inyo & Mono Counties Central Labor Council, which strongly supported the decision the remaining six members of the city council made Wednesday to authorize a special election in June rather than exercising their option to appoint a replacement for Tkac.
For those thinking about launching a campaign to represent the southwest Bakersfield area ward, the following information and calendar deadlines should be in your planner or taped to your refrigerator:
• When city council members voted unanimously to support a special election, they chose June 6 as Election Day. The County of Kern had already established an election on June 6, so by consolidating the two on the same day, the cost to the city is expected to be substantially reduced.
• Feb. 13 is the first day interested individuals can file nomination papers stating their intention to run. But they’ll need a few friends or a fairly large extended family. The nomination papers require a minimum of 20 and a maximum of 30 signatures from supporters.
• For procrastinators, or those who would rather not make an early commitment, prospective candidates have until March 10 to file nomination papers. And for those who get cold feet after filing, March 10 is also the last day they can withdraw their nomination.
• March 10 is also the last day candidate statements may be filed. They cannot be altered once they are filed. The following day, March 11, is the last day candidate statements may be withdrawn.
• March 17 is the last day for the city clerk to certify and file the list of candidates with the county.
• April 10 is the first day of the filing period for write-in candidates.
• The first pre-election campaign finance statements are due to the city clerk on April 27.
• May 23 is the last day to file as a write-in candidate.
• The second pre-election campaign finance statement is due to the city clerk on May 25.
• June 6: Election Day.
• The oath of office will be given July 19, possibly earlier depending on receipt of election results from Kern County Elections.
At Wednesday’s council meeting, Bakersfield’s new mayor, Karen Goh, encouraged those interested in serving to throw their hat in the ring.
“We would encourage anyone living in the 5th Ward to run,” he said. “The more people who participate the stronger our democracy becomes.”