Almost immediately after San Luis Obispo County’s newest supervisor was sworn in, the seat quickly attracted competition.
Lynn Compton, of Nipomo, announced her candidacy for the board’s 4th District seat on Oct. 10. The seat, which represents parts of South County—including Nipomo, Oceano, parts of Arroyo Grande and east along Hwy 166—was left vacant in June after the unexpected death of then-Supervisor Paul Teixeira. It remained empty all summer as Gov. Jerry Brown considered a slew of applicants before appointing Caren Ray of Arroyo Grande, who served on that city’s council before her appointment.
Ray was sworn in on Oct. 8. Two days later, Compton held her kick-off party at the Edwards Barn, a popular wedding and event venue in Nipomo.
While the quick announcement may be perceived as a challenge of sorts, Compton told New Times she’d been planning to run for the seat since deciding to apply for the governor’s appointment. Out of respect for the seat and the Teixeira family, she decided to wait until after Ray was sworn in, she said. Compton said she was flown to Sacramento for an interview with the governor.
She points to the geographical center of the county as being a bit disconnected from its southernmost district.
“There are a lot of decisions going on in this county, being made by the Board of Supervisors, that may work in certain areas and certain districts, and I don’t necessarily think they’ll work down here in Arroyo Grande, Nipomo, or Oceano,” Compton said.
The 4th District, a seat sometimes considered a swing vote on the board, has a Republican advantage in the polls. That the current supervisor was appointed by a Democratic governor is likely to create a stir among district residents in the upcoming election.
“It should be the people that decide, not the governor, with no disrespect to the governor,” Compton said.
Compton has a minimal political and public record. She’s been a member and volunteer in numerous organizations, including schools and chambers of commerce, as well as several agricultural groups, such as the Cattlemen’s Association, the Farm Bureau, California Women in Agriculture, and the California Association of Pest Control Advisers.
Compton and her husband run a business in Santa Maria: Valley Farm Supply, which provides fertilizers, pesticides, and other goods to agriculturists—primarily strawberry growers—throughout the Santa Maria Valley and other parts of California.
Attending the kick-off party was Debbie Arnold, current 5th District supervisor; and Mike Brown, government affairs director and head of the SLO County wing of Coalition of Labor, Agriculture, and Business (COLAB). Brown is listed on Compton’s campaign website as a supporter, along with Pismo Beach Mayor Pro Tem Ed Waage, who ran an unsuccessful campaign to unseat 3rd District Supervisor Adam Hill in 2012; and former Republican Congresswoman Andrea Seastrand.
Compton has hired Meridian Pacific, Inc. to run her campaign. The political consulting company, which often works for Republican candidates, ran Arnold’s and Waage’s campaigns in 2012, as well as other local campaigns, and has worked for John McCain at the national level.
The primary election will take place on June 3 and will either decide a victor outright if a candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote, or narrow the field down to two.
Ray does plan on running to maintain her seat in the upcoming election. As far as Compton and others who may be throwing their hat into the ring?
“I welcome all entrants into the race, and I look forward to the campaign,” Ray wrote in an e-mail to New Times.
-- Melody DeMeritt - former city council member, Morro Bay