Gabe Escobedo | Credit: Credit: Jun Starkey (file)

Gabe Escobedo, chair of the City of Santa Barbara’s Planning Commission, announced over the weekend that he would be suspending his campaign for 37th District State Assembly.

“I got into this race not just to win,” Escobedo told the Independent, “but to change the narrative and fight for a better future: more affordable housing, better public education, effective criminal justice, and large-scale climate resilience.” He continued, “That fight does not end today, and I look forward to working with everyone in our community to create bold solutions that meet the scale of our problems.”

Escobedo’s announcement came shortly after Republican Mike Stoker threw his name in the ring in the same race, a move which may have forced a split vote between Escobedo and fellow Democrat 2nd District County Supervisor Gregg Hart.

Escobedo currently serves as the youngest-ever chair of the Santa Barbara Planning Commission, and chair of Santa Barbara’s Community Formation Commission. When he first announced his campaign in early January, he ran with an emphasis on education, housing, and criminal justice reform. Escobedo spent over a decade working in higher education, as an intramural coordinator at California State University San Marcos and a competitive sports assistant at UC Berkeley before coming to UC Santa Barbara in 2016.

Sources close to the Escobedo campaign said that although he has suspended this run for State Assembly, Escobedo is very serious about running for another position locally in the future.

With Escobedo out of the race, the 37th district race will now be between Hart and Stoker, with both split on issues of funding the police, education, and public safety policies as related to COVID-19.

“I want to thank all of my supporters, and I am so proud of the work we did during this campaign,” Escobedo said.

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