The field of candidates hoping to fill Long Beach’s First District City Council seat in the Nov. 5 special election has grown to eight.
The nomination period for prospective candidates to fill that seat, which has been vacant for about a month after Lena Gonzalez was sworn in as a state senator, began Monday, July 15, although several candidates had already announced their campaigns. Candidates must file paperwork — including community signatures — by 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9.
The City Clerk’s Office on Monday kicked off the nomination period with a workshop for prospective candidates. Several new candidates joined those who previously joined the race to pick up their campaign forms and learn about the election process going forward.
Mary Zendejas, Long Beach Transit director, was the first to announce her candidacy and has received Gonzalez’s endorsement. She’s served on multiple city commissions and has worked for the mayor.
Ray Morquecho, a small business owner, said on Monday that he wants to increase public safety, as well as focus on homelessness and affordable housing.
Misi Tagaloa, meanwhile, ran and lost to Gonzalez for the First District seat in the 2014 election. He said at the time that he was a minister of the Second Samoan Congregational United Church of Christ, on Cedar Avenue, and wanted to improve the condition of local sidewalks and alleys.
Elliot Gonzales has been in the race since his announcement last month, though he has yet to file a candidate intention form. Gonzales is a former sustainability commissioner and aims to focus on sustainability and housing.
Mariela Salgado also announced her candidacy last month. Salgado is a small business owner and a Parks, Recreation and Marine commissioner.
At the Monday workshop, newcomers Asha Nichols and Shirley Huling grabbed nomination papers for the First District seat, which they filed later Monday.
Huling, a Navy veteran and community organizer, currently serves on the homeschool co-op “Viva Life” and works with the city’s Neighborhood Leadership Program. She first came to the city to work on former Mayor Ernie Kell’s reelection campaign in 1992. If elected, Huling said, helping the homeless would be her main priority.
Nichols and Hashim Muhammad — who is also running — did not immediately return requests for comment.