Councilmember Gregg Hart (left) and Goleta school board member Susan Epstein (right)
Paul Wellman (file)

Susan Epstein stunned her supporters and the local political community on Tuesday when she announced in a mass email she would end her campaign for 2nd District supervisor.

“This is a hard note to write,” she said. “So many people across our community and beyond have joined our campaign for County Supervisor and offered support in many forms … . Unfortunately, I have decided to end the campaign for County Supervisor for personal reasons.”

Epstein told the Santa Barbara Independent she had raised about $120,000 in three months for what was expected to be a spirited race against Santa Barbara City Councilmember Gregg Hart. The filing period does not close until March 14.

Epstein wrote in a text message to the Independent late Tuesday night: “I’m so grateful for all of the support for our campaign. We’ve already begun the process of returning the financial contributions to my wonderful supporters.”

Epstein had garnered the support of an extensive list of Santa Barbara Democrats who broke ranks with the local central committee which endorsed Hart.

“It was so sudden,” said outgoing 2nd District Supervisor Janet Wolf. She explained Epstein called her Monday to let her know. “She was very clear she didn’t want to say why,” she said, adding, “I am shocked, and I’m disappointed.” State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, who also endorsed Epstein, had little to add. “I am as surprised and puzzled as everyone else,” she said. “It saddens me.”

Wolf and Jackson headlined a fundraiser for Epstein, a longtime Goleta school board member, on February 11. In an recent interview with the Independent, Epstein expressed enthusiasm about the large turnout and revealed that several people wrote her checks at the event.

“This is really unprecedented, at least locally,” Wolf said.

In the email Tuesday, Epstein said she planned to pursue other opportunities. “I will continue working to make our community a better place,” she wrote.


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