Two announcements rocked the local political landscape this week.
First, Redwood City Mayor Giselle Hale announced today she has ended her campaign for California State Assembly District 21 in the wake of well-funded political attacks against her that she says have negatively impacted her family.
In addition, Redwood City Councilmember Michael Smith announced Thursday he is resigning from the City Council effective Aug. 1 in order to move closer to his family in the Northeast.
In a series of Twitter posts, Hale said during her recent family vacation she “saw how deeply this race impacted the mental health and happiness of my husband and daughters.”
“In this campaign I faced the full force of a $1.2M special interest smear campaign,” Hale said. “They showed up almost daily in our mailbox. While I could compartmentalize the lies and attacks and keep driving – it was impossible for my family not to be impacted. My five-year-old was regularly served one of my opponents’ attack ads while watching a YouTube kids’ show; and my eight-year-old told me that a classmate brought a negative mailer to school. They couldn’t comprehend grownups doing such things.”
Hale finished second in the June Primary Election with 19,400 votes. Diane Papan, currently serving as Vice Mayor of San Mateo, came out on top in the primary with 40,434 votes. Republican Mark Gilham had the third-most votes with 19,078.
Hale said she’ll “never give up fighting for the issues that brought me into service 8 years ago,” noting that as mayor she will “keep fighting for affordable housing, childcare and public transit.”
“I am joining the Vote Mama Leadership Council to mentor other Dem moms seeking office,” Hale said. “I will work to improve transparency in our campaign finance system.”
Although she has ended her campaign, Hale will remain on the November ballot.
In the guest post in RWC Pulse, Smith said he resigned from City Council “with a heavy heart.”
“For some time, I have been navigating and managing some difficult family issues back in my hometown,” he said.
In a separate Pulse report, Smith told the publication that he planned to move to his “hometown of Bridgeport, Connecticut, to be closer to a family member who is seriously ill.”
At its meeting Monday, City Council will be asked to provide direction to city staff on filling Smith’s District 4 seat. The Council may seek to appoint an eligible resident to fill Smith’s seat for the remainder of his term, which runs through December 2024. An appointment must occur within 60 days of July 20, that date in which he notified the city of his resignation. That will allow for a period in which eligible residents can apply for the role and undergo interviews.
Alternatively, the City Council could decline to make an appointment within the 60-day deadline, triggering a special election to fill the seat in January 2023. The cost of a special election is estimated to be about $104,000-$124,800, according to County Elections estimates.
Smith served on the Planning Commission starting in 2018 and was elected to City Council in November 2020. In his guest post, he lauded Redwood City and its residents and various efforts accomplished during his time as a commissioner and councilmember.
“My time as a City Council Member has been nothing short of incredible,” Smith said. “Working alongside individuals who value democracy and community-based civic processes as much as I do has been such an inspiration.” Read his full statement here.