Five candidates vie for Lantos’ seat

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Published on February 26, 2008 with No Comments

By Caitlin Cassady

February 26, 2008

Five candidates who filed to run in the April 8 special election to fill the vacant congressional seat left by the late Tom Lantos will have to wait to be certified by the Secretary of State until March 3, an elections spokeswoman said today.

Three candidates filed in San Mateo County, while another two filed in San Francisco County, San Mateo County Elections Manager David Tom said. Because the 12th congressional district covers two counties the Secretary of State is actually the elections officer for this election. Once the candidates have been certified, a final list will be sent to county elections officials.

Former state senator Jackie Speier, a democrat, leads the list of candidates; Lantos endorsed her for the seat before his death on Feb. 11. She filed for candidacy in San Mateo County, as did republican candidates Mike Maloney and Greg Conlon, Tom said.

Former state senator Jackie Speier
Photo by Luke Thomas

Democrat Michelle McMurry and Green Party candidate Barry Hermanson both filed their Declaration of Candidacy in San Francisco County, according to the elections department.

Green Party candidate Barry Hermanson
Photo by Luke Thomas

Around a quarter of the congressional district lies in San Francisco County, Tom said.

Lantos, 80, was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in late December, and had announced he would not seek re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives, but had committed to serving the rest of his 14th term through December, his spokeswoman Lynne Weil said.

The winner of the April election will be filling out the remainder of Lantos’ term, secretary of state spokeswoman Kate Folmar said. However, that person will not automatically hold the seat for the upcoming election as well. The winner of the special election will have to run again in the June 3 statewide primary if he or she wants to fill the position for the two-year congressional term beginning in 2009.

If for some reason no one candidate for the seat gets more than 50 percent of the vote in the April election, the top vote getters from each party will be put on the June ballot, Folmar said.

The winner of that contest will then fill out the remainder of the term. Lantos, D-San Mateo/San Francisco, was the only Holocaust survivor to be elected to Congress and served as a senior member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. He was the founding co-chairman of the 24-year-old Congressional Human Rights Caucus, and was elected chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs in January 2007, according to Weil.

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