The man with the same name as incumbent Robert "Bob" Baker pulled out of the San Clemente City Council race today.
In a concise letter to the San Clemente City Clerk, he said he was pulling out of the race for "personal reasons."
His candidacy had been criticized in the press as a political ploy by those in opposition to the incumbent Robert "Bob" Baker to split his supporters and cause him to lose his seat, one of two up for grabs in the November election.
But it's too late to remove Baker 0's name from the ballot. City Clerk Joanne Baade described the election procedure as it stands now in an email to the media:
If Robert “Bob” Baker 0 were to be elected, he could then decide whether to resign immediately, thus opening a vacancy on the City Council.
The San Clemente Municipal Code provides that whenever a vacancy occurs on the City Council, the Council shall immediately call a special election to fill such vacancy.
Said special election may be held on the next regularly scheduled election date to be held throughout the City; however, such election date may not be less than 114 days from the call of the special election.
The Code further provides that Council may appoint a person to fill the vacancy until such time as a special election is held and a successor is duly elected and installed.
The special election called for the purpose of filling said vacancy shall be for the purpose of filling the remainder of the unexpired term of office.
Incumbent Bob Baker said in a phone interview that he was confused by the wording of the challenger's withdrawal letter. Baker 0 states "after reassessing my candidacy, [I] wish to redraw from this election..."
"What does 'redraw' mean there?" Baker 1 asked. "With this government stuff, the devil is in the details."
Patch put in a call to the former candidate Baker for clarification, but that call was not immediately returned. Look for updates later today on Patch.