In Oceanside, a campaign has been mounted to encourage people to vote for a deceased candidate.
City treasurer Gary Ernst passed away on September 22. The 61-year-old had reportedly been battling diabetes. Oceanside police found him in his home after he had not shown up for work for a few days. According to the county registrar of voters, his name is already on the ballot for reelection.
Ernst was running for his second term against Nadine Scott, an attorney specializing in divorce, family law, and estate planning, but was perhaps better known as a neighborhood activist well known around city hall. One city leader is trying to make sure she doesn’t get elected.
“She’s a city-hall gadfly,” says councilman Jerry Kern. “She's not qualified for this position. Just because Ernst passed away she shouldn’t get a free pass.”
Others familiar with city-council meetings claim Scott disrupts almost every meeting. “She challenges almost everything proposed. She’s against everything,” said one staffer.
Kern is encouraging Ernst’s supporters to continue to fire up the campaign with their already-planned signs, mailers, and ads. Kern is also asking his constituency to vote for Ernst and will do what he can “to pull something together.”
“If he gets elected, the council can appoint someone to fill his term,” said Kern. "It's in the best interest of the city."
Recently quoted in the Voice of San Diego, Scott said, “I think the voters are surely entitled to know that [Ernst is deceased] so when they vote, they should have their vote count. I think we should have a fair and honest election without interference from political parties or Council members that intend to frustrate the results of the election.”
Along with Kern, the Republican Party of San Diego had already endorsed Ernst. Oceanside councilwoman Esther Sanchez has endorsed Scott.