The Fourth Supervisorial District, currently filled by Joni Gray

The filing period to run for Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisor seats in the 1st and 4th districts ended Friday, with surprises in each about who did and didn’t enter.

In the 1st district, current Supervisor Salud Carbajal will find the going easy this spring, as he faces no challengers in his bid to keep his seat. His daunting fundraising ability – he reported $395,683 in contributions during the first filing period in January, by far the most of any candidate in any race – as well as his perceived likeability apparently scared off anyone considering a run against him. Especially for his district, which includes parts of the City of Santa Barbara and the politically active Montecito, this news is striking.

In the 4th district, former Santa Maria police chief John Sterling announced he would be making a run at Supervisor Joni Gray’s seat, filing his paper’s Thursday. Sterling followed current 5th District Supervisor Joe Centeno as chief of police in Santa Maria, and has a strong group of supporters in the North County. Sterling likely represents the first strong opponent to Gray, who has 10 years experience on the dais representing the 4th district, which runs from Guadalupe to Lompoc, just south of Santa Maria. He was police chief from 1999 until 2003, when he left after butting heads with the Santa Maria city manager.

The deadline to file for 3rd District Supervisor isn’t until March 12. An extension was provided because the incumbent, Brooks Firestone, isn’t running. The election is June 3.


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