In a long-expected move, San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Caren Ray officially declared her intent to run for her 4th District seat on Nov. 22.
Ray—who was appointed to the Board of Supervisors by Gov. Jerry Brown on Oct. 8—previously served for three years on the Arroyo Grande City Council and five years on that city’s Planning Commission.
Ray told New Times she’d been planning on announcing her candidacy earlier, but she decided to prioritize urgent board business.
“I’ve only had two days off in my seven weeks of work thus far,” Ray said. “It was much more important that I give my attention to the job than deal with the campaign.”
Asked to summarize her platform, Ray mentioned three major tenets: comprehensively managing water issues on a county-wide basis, creating more workforce housing, and bringing head-of-household jobs to her district.
Ray’s major competition for the 4th District—which represents Nipomo, Oceano, parts of Arroyo Grande, and rural South County along Hwy. 166—will be Nipomo businesswoman Lynn Compton.
Compton announced her candidacy for Ray’s seat on Oct. 10 with a splashy kick-off party at the Edwards Barn in Nipomo, attended by several of the county’s top conservative figures.
Though Compton is publicly trumpeting endorsements from former Republican Congresswoman Andrea Seastrand and Pismo Beach Councilman Ed Waage, Ray said she doesn’t value that kind of partisan politicking.
“Ideology is not going to fill our potholes,” Ray said. “The Board of Supervisors is a nonpartisan body by statute, and it necessitates very issues-based stances.”
Ray said she comes from a very centrist stance and strives to “perfectly represent” District 4, which often leans in a moderate-conservative direction.
“My focus is not on Lynn Compton right now,” Ray said. “My focus is on solving our county’s problems and working through my big queue of work.”
The primary election for the 4th District seat will take place on June 3, 2014. If any candidate secures more than 50 percent of the vote, then he or she will be the victor. If not, the seat will be decided in the November general election.
This will be the first election for both announced candidates.
Compton, who owns Valley Farm Supply, Inc.—an agricultural supply company in Santa Maria—with her husband Pete, has never been elected to any office.
In comparison, Ray has been thrice appointed: to the Board of Supervisors, the Arroyo Grande Planning Commission, and the Arroyo Grande City Council. She was appointed to her City Council seat in 2010 and wasn’t challenged in the subsequent 2012 election, which was canceled due to lack of opposition.