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Should Party Affiliation Play Part in City Council Campaigns?

Candidates announce political endorsements in a race for nonpartisan seats on Temecula City Council.

Should Party Affiliation Play Part in City Council Campaigns?

The that a Temecula City Council candidate had been endorsed by the Riverside County Republican Party caused some to ask: should party affiliation even play a part in campaigning?

The Temecula City Council is organized as a nonpartisan local governing body of five elected officials, according to the city website.

It was announced Aug. 24 that —housing and redevelopment consultant Jamie White and retired nurse Patrice Lynes—received the county Republican Party's endorsement.

Others in the race include Mayor Chuck Washington, who is seeking his third council term; Councilman Mike Naggar, running for his fourth term; former city commissioner Paul Jacobs and real estate agent Walter Wilson.

Jacobs, who said he is not affiliated with any political party, questioned the Republican endorsement.

"...Local offices such as the city council and the board of supervisors are non-partisan contests and should remain that way," Jacobs said. "People on both sides of the political aisle are sick and tired of lockstep politics, 5-0 votes and elected representatives that parlay their positions of public trust into personally lucrative jobs and investments.

"There are six fine people on the ballot to fill two seats on the City Council. The only endorsement that matters is the one from voters on Election Day, November 6, 2012.

"Citizens are encouraged to register to vote, independently learn about the candidates and decide for themselves by casting a ballot. Ballots are the currency of democracy more precious than money or political endorsements. I trust and count on the wisdom of voters to decide for themselves on November 6, 2012."

Naggar questioned the Republican endorsement but for a different reason: he said he was "not informed nor invited to participate in applying for that endorsement."

Randon Lane, chairman of the Riverside County Republican Party, defended the endorsements. He said the endorsements for Temecula City Council candidates came about as a combination of those who applied and had a history of being involved with the party on a county level.

"Every party seeks to endorse those people who are involved, whether it is on the local, county, state or federal level," said Lane, who currently also serves as a Murrieta City Council member and is seeking re-election to that office. "People can say it is nonpartisan all the way, but the first question people ask you is if you are a Republican or Democrat. They want to know your party preference."

Lane has been involved in the party at the county level for 10 years, and said every election year in the months of August or September, endorsements are voted on.

"It is always encumbent on the candidate if they are wishing to seek the endorsement to come and be a part of it."

Candidates from Banning, Corona, San Jacinto and Hemet are among others who received the party's endorsements this election year, he said.

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