PORT ANGELES — Tara Martin Lopez, a new member of the city Planning Commission, has dropped out of the Aug. 6 primary election race for Port Angeles City Council, saying she is moving back to New Mexico.
“I have been offered a job opportunity back in my home state of New Mexico that is essential to my growth professionally and personally,” the Peninsula College sociology professor said Wednesday morning in an email to Peninsula Daily News.
Lopez’s name will remain on the primary election ballot with candidates Martha Cunningham and Brendan Meyer for the Nov. 5 general election for the Position 7 council seat.
If Lopez is a top-two vote-getter, her name will be on the general election ballot, and if she wins the general election, she would have to resign if she did not want to serve, Clallam County elections supervisor Becky Pettigrew said Wednesday.
It’s too late to take Lopez’s name off the ballot, she said.
The Auditor’s Office will mail ballots Wednesday, July 17 to 12,800 voters citywide that are due Aug. 6.
Lopez, who registered for the City Council position May 13 on the first day of filing week, was the first of eight candidates to file for three City Council positions.
The City Council named Lopez to the planning commission April 16. Her term expires Feb. 28, 2020.
The seven-member planning board makes recommendations on land use to the City Council.
The City Council will name a replacement to fill out her term.
“It has been a very difficult decision because I absolutely love Port Angeles, and during the course of this campaign, the generosity and kindness of my fellow Port Angeleans all were confirmed when interacting with people at meetings and public events,” Lopez said in the email.
“However, I have a strong commitment to my family and my home state of New Mexico.”
The five-year Port Angeles resident and Albuquerque, N.M., native praised Elevate Clallam which was formed in 2017 and linked with a national movement to urge women aligned with the Democratic Party to run for political office.
“I know that the intelligence and community spirit of the residents here, in particular Connie Gallant and the Elevate group led by the brilliant Christine Loewe, has reaffirmed my desire and capacity for community service,” Lopez said in the statement.
Loewe was Lopez’s campaign manager.
“Our mission is to elevate Clallam County women into leadership through networking, recruitment and support,” according to the group’s website at www.elevateclallam.org.
“We share a vision of a community with more progressive women at the helm.”
Elevate Clallam lists as a support group Emerge Washington, whose goal is, according to wa.emergeamerica.org, “to increase the number of Democratic women leaders from diverse backgrounds in public office all across the state and in all offices through recruitment, training and providing a powerful network.”
Lopez discussed withdrawing from the race Tuesday with Pettigrew, Pettigrew said.
Lopez would not be interviewed Wednesday.
“The statement contains all the information needed right now,” she said in an email Wednesday afternoon.
Primary election candidates’ profiles and questionnaires will be published Sunday in the Peninsula Daily News’ 2019 Primary Election Voter Guide and at www.peninsuladailynews.com.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].