The official candidate filing period in Merced County has been open for about two weeks now, and the names on the list are growing.
Intense campaigns and a record-setting election are expected in a turbulent and consequential year marked by a national pandemic, stay-at-home orders, local economic devastation, and widespread social unrest.
Of particular note are the city races in Merced, where the local government is also dealing with it’s share of controversy — a censure of one council member and the firing of the City Manager — on top of all the other 2020 challenges.
According to the candidate list — which remains fluid and won’t be finalized until mid-August — so far here’s what’s happening:
Merced City Councilman (Dist. 1) Anthony Martinez — who is termed out this year — has pulled papers in the mayoral race. Two other already-announced candidates have also pulled papers: former City Councilman Michael Belluomini, and current City Councilman (Dist. 5) Matthew Serratto. Another announced candidate, homeless advocate Monica Villa, has yet to pull papers).
Merced City Council, District 1
Anthony Levi Martinez (current incumbent) can still switch gears and run for re-election. However, he would be facing these current challengers — also fellow teachers — who have pulled papers for the race.
Louis Smith (teacher)
Joel J. Knox (retired teacher)
Merced City Council, District 3
Jill McLeod (incumbent)
Allen Brooks (business owner)
Bertha Perez (labor organizer)
Merced City Council, District 5
This is Matthew Serratto’s seat that’s up for grabs.
Sarah Boyle (business woman)
Anthony Anderson (military)