Rose Fellow Douglas Johnson on Running for Multiple Offices

A recent article in The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin featured Rose Institute Fellow Douglas Johnson commenting on a candidate in Montclair who is running for two public offices at the same time. The article was published August 11th and titled “Candidate runs for Montclair council and school board.”

56-year-old Christopher Agrella is running for both the Montclair City Council and the Ontario-Montclair school board at the same time. According to Johnson, however, running for two seats at the same time could backfire. Johnson says that Agrella is “asking voters to make the decision he’s not willing to make… I’m curious why someone would do that.”

Johnson does reference another similar situation when a candidate ran in a pair of water districts and actually won both of the seats. That candidate held both seats until the District Attorney forced him to choose just one. Johnson also notes that running for two offices happens more often at a national level, usually when a senator seeks re-election while also running for vice president.

Johnson notes that if Agrella were to win both races, “he would create a vacancy in the seat he abandoned, which would likely mean someone would be appointed or voted in by special election… [putting] the other through the misery of the replacement process… It’s complicated, and it gets really expensive, which is why it is so rare.”

Apparently,  running for two offices is legal in this situation. While Section 8003 of the state’s Election Code states that a person can only run for one office at a time, the catch “is that cities, school districts and special districts are exempt from that rule…Instead, each agency has its own separate laws which allow a candidate to run in multiple races – as long as they are not in the same agency.”

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