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County GOP drops one Encinitas council candidate, endorses another

An apparent change of heart by the Republican Party of San Diego County has resulted in the party’s endorsement being withdrawn from one candidate for Encinitas City Council and given to another.

Bryan Ziegler, an attorney with the county of San Diego, said he went on the Republican Party’s web site on Thursday, Oct. 2, to find that his name had been removed from the list of endorsed candidates, while that of his opponent, Alan Lerchbacker, had been added to the list.

“I was upset, I was disheartened,” said Ziegler. He said party officials had contacted him just before the filing period ended, asking him to run, and if not for their urging, he probably would not have thrown his hat in the ring because he was in pain following recent back surgery. Ziegler said he received the GOP endorsement in August.

“I wanted to be a team player… and they just turned their back on me,” said Ziegler, who is one of four candidates vying for one seat on the council in the November election. The other two candidates are Catherine Blakespear and Julie Graboi.

San Diego GOP chairman Tony Krvaric declined to offer any explanation for the switch of allegiance.

“We don’t comment on internal endorsement procedures,” Krvaric said.

Lerchbacker said he had limited contact with the county Republican party, except for their offer to endorse his candidacy. Lerchbacker said he knew that Ziegler had received the GOP endorsement early on in the campaign, but did not know what had happened, or why the party had apparently changed its mind.

“I don’t want to comment on how they treated him, because I just don’t know,” Lerchbacker said. “All I was told was they were interested in endorsing me and that was great.”

Lerchbacker said he would welcome the opportunity to talk to Ziegler about the situation.

“I really want to talk to Bryan and get his side of the story and find out how we can do this best for both of us,” Lerchbacker said.

Ziegler said he believes the GOP pulled its endorsement from him because of his outspoken support for Prop. A, which passed last year and requires a public vote for zoning changes in Encinitas that increase density. Party officials also pressed him to raise more money for his campaign, which he said has been difficult due to his back problems.

In an email, Ziegler wrote, “For the record, I never agreed to give up the GOP endorsement. It was taken away from me against my will. I received several high pressure phone calls from the GOP telling me that I needed to drop out of the race and endorse Lerchbacker. I emphatically refused and said that what they were doing was completely unfair. I even hung up the phone on them when they kept trying to force me to change my position.”

“What I believe the GOP really wanted was to split Prop. A citizens and throw some of their support towards their real candidate, Lerchbacker. Their only concern is money and power, while mine is truth and justice,” Ziegler wrote.


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