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City council candidates make final push to reach Citrus Heights voters

Campaign signs, Citrus Heights
Candidate signs for local elections in Citrus Heights dot a vacant patch of land across from Applebee’s on Auburn Boulevard. // CH Sentinel

On Nov. 8, a field of eight candidates running for Citrus Heights city council will be narrowed down to just two winners and candidates say they’re ramping up their campaigns during the final days with mailers, phone calls, door-to-door visits, and radio ad buys.

Based on past local elections, candidates will likely need to receive 8-10,000 votes in order to win — but this late in the game, many voters have already submitted their ballots by mail. Already, more than 5,500 voters have dropped off ballots at the Citrus Heights city hall as of Nov. 4, according to Sacramento County Registrar of Voters Jill LaVine, and many more have sent in their ballots by mail.

“It’s impossible to know how an election is going to go, but I’m confident that I’ve done everything I can to give myself the best chance of victory on Tuesday night,” candidate Marcel Weiland told The Sentinel on Saturday, expressing an optimism shared by some of the other candidates in the race as well. The 26-year-old said his campaign plans to reach an additional 2,000 voters by phone and door-to-door efforts in the final days before the election.

Weiland, along with candidates Jeff Slowey and Rick Doyle, have ranked among the top three picks listed by voters at a pair of election forums held over the past two months. Another popular pick has been Tim Schaefer, who recently teamed up with fellow candidate Bret Daniels and also launched a radio ad campaign on two stations on Nov. 1, which he said will continue airing through Election Day.

Vice Mayor Slowey, who is the only incumbent in the race due to councilwoman Sue Frost giving up her seat to run for county supervisor, said he’s purchased direct mailers and has also been walking door-to-door. He, along with Doyle, hold the most experience in local government and boast the most endorsements, including that of the entire city council. Doyle also purchased direct mailers and said his campaign will have knocked on 4,000 doors by Nov. 8.

Candidates have also taken to social media to reach voters, with Daniels topping the list for the most active and large campaign page with just under 700 fans, and Weiland coming in second place with about 600 fans. The remaining six candidates have no public campaign page on Facebook, or have less than 100 fans.

A few facts from previous elections shed some light on which candidates are most likely to win, but ultimately voters will decide that answer on Election Day. A Sentinel review of the past two elections has found that winning candidates for Citrus Heights city council have all had a few similarities: each has raised over $10,000, each has sent out at least one direct mailer, and each has paid for a 200-word candidate statement to appear in the County’s sample ballot sent out to each voter.

Based on those factors, the race likely narrows down to Slowey, Doyle, and Weiland. While Schaefer and Daniels are the only other two candidates who paid for a candidate statement, the pair have struggled to compete in fundraising — each reporting less than $4,000 in total contributions, making it more difficult to reach voters with campaign information.

>>Campaign funding: who’s backing the top 3 candidates in Citrus Heights

The final push: what candidates have planned

Tim Schaefer: “We have been busy knocking on doors or leaving door hangers and putting out yard signs. On Friday, I appeared on AM1380 ‘The Answer’ to talk about Citrus Heights issues and the reasons for my opposition to Measure B. I also joined forces with Bret Daniels to bring common sense back to local government. On Nov. 1, [my] radio campaign commenced on AM 1380 ‘The Answer’ and FM 103.9 ‘The Fish.’ These radio commercials will continue through Election Day. I also have launched a social media campaign on Facebook.”

Bret Daniels: “Our campaign recently joined forces with Tim Schaefer to bring the most solid people-driven ticket to the race. Tim and I have a proven record of leadership in listening to what the people want and delivering that message. Both of us share a background in public safety, military service, and what helps businesses thrive… We are using a strong social media effort to reach last minute and election day voters.”

Amor Taylor: “In the final few days leading up to the election, I have been meeting with friends, neighbors and residents. I knew that going door to door would be a challenge, as a candidate with a disability. While I am always hopeful that I will be one of the top two vote-getters on Nov. 8, that will be up to voters who participate in this year’s election. The fact that there are eight candidates, is an indication that we would like to see new members on the council. It would be an honor to serve in this capacity, and it’s an exciting time for our city. To my fellow candidates, best of luck!”

Rick Doyle: “My focus from the beginning is to talk with the people that have voted in the last five elections in a row, and more importantly to listen to their concerns. After all, it is their opinions that matter the most. In the closing days as we approach Nov. 8 we will have knocked on over 4,000 doors in that endeavor… The most important people in this entire campaign are the voters. I have every confidence in them to answer the question as to who will be the top two vote-getters, and we will have their answer [on] Tuesday. I’m looking forward to it.”

Porsche Middleton: “In the final days of this campaign we will continue focusing our efforts on Getting Out the Vote! Our volunteers have been phone banking, organizing literature drops and door-to-door visits to remind residents to go vote on Election Day. It is important for the residents of Citrus Heights to realize that voting is the one time when all citizens have an equal say in standing up for the issues and priorities that matter most to us and our community. This election will be close and every vote cast will be important in determining who will be helping to shape our community in the years to come.”

Jeff Slowey: “As with any campaign, you always run it like you have something to prove. In addition to mailers and knocking on doors, talking to anyone, anywhere about the race is something I know my wife won’t miss after [Election Day]. While I personally feel I have a pretty solid record to run on, you can never take anything for granted. The only thing I know for sure is come Wednesday morning I will be out taking down my signs. I hate it when a candidate does not have enough to respect for the community to remove what they put up in a timely manner.”

Marcel Weiland: “In the three days that remain in this campaign, my team and I will be contacting voters directly through door-to-door efforts and targeted phone calls. By Tuesday we will have reached an additional 2000+ voters. I’ve catapulted from outsider to front-runner in this race, thanks in large part to the hard work of my volunteers. We’ve made thousands of phone calls [and] knocked on thousands of doors…”

*Michael Nishimura did not respond by the Nov. 5 publication deadline.

>>Read more about the candidates: Citrus Heights city council candidates on the issues, in their own words

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