Valley News -

By Kim Harris
Managing Editor 

Cities prepare for city council elections by district


Last updated 10/5/2018 at 1:30pm


A map shows Murrieta districts under the city's new by-election voting process.

As the 2018 election cycle kicks into high gear, many residents of southwest Riverside County are looking at a new way to cast their vote.

Thanks to the threat of a lawsuit claiming violations of the California Voting Rights Act, the cities of Murrieta, Temecula, Wildomar and Lake Elsinore all made the move to election by district instead of the at-large system used in previous elections, and that move is causing some confusion for voters.

Under the new by-district systems, residents will only vote for one candidate from their district for the respective councils.


In Murrieta, only people who live in districts 1, 2 and 5 will cast a vote for a new city councilmember. Districts 3 and 4 voters will get their turn to vote for their representatives during the 2020 election cycle. All residents can vote for federal and state elected officials, and all ballot measures, including Murrieta's proposed 1 cent sales tax known as Measure T.

Those in Murrieta's District 1 will cast their vote for incumbent Jonathan Ingram. Challenger Steve Espinoza will appear on the ballot but has since withdrew from the race citing family obligations as his reason for stepping aside. While his name will appear on the ballot, Espinoza said in an open letter to the community that he will continue to play a more active role in the community but that he did not want people voting for him.

"If I remain on the ballot due to policy reasons, it is not because I am still running, so please refrain from voting for me as I will not accept the position," he said.

District 1 includes the northernmost part of the city. Including the area immediately south of city limits and west of Interstate 215, District 1 encompasses Hancock Street and the area north of Historic Downtown Murrieta.

Voters in District 2 can cast their vote for one of several candidates. Former Murrieta City Councilman Harry Ramos, who was defeated by councilman Kelly Seyarto in the 2016 election, is once again vying for a seat on the council. Ramos is running against Christi White, Joshua Knight and Ryan Haggerty.

District 2 encompasses the area of north of Murrieta Hot Springs Road, includes French Valley up to Leon Road and parts of Los Alamos Road.

Scott Vinton is the only candidate listed for District 5, which is mostly south of Murrieta Hot Springs Road, running with a western boundary along Interstate 15 and the southern boundary along city limits.

For questions regarding Murrieta's new election districts, visit


Voters in Temecula districts 1, 3 and 5 will cast their votes in the 2018 election. Those living in districts 2 and 4 will have their turn in 2020. All residents can vote for federal and state elected officials and all ballot measures.

In District 1, incumbent Matt Rahn will face off against business woman Mayra Garcia, a newcomer to the political scene. District 1 encompasses the most rural parts of Temecula, Pechanga Parkway and portions south of state Route 79 South.

In District 3, which begins at the intersection of Rancho California Road and Butterfield Stage Road on the eastern border of the city of Temecula and parts of Margarita and Winchester Road, three candidates are hoping to secure a seat on the council. Incumbent Maryann Edwards will attempt to retain her seat against former City Councilman Michael McCracken and veteran Adam Rideau.

In District 5, Martha Angelica Howard, who holds a degree in psychology, and Temecula's Community Services Commissioner Zak Schwank will vie for the seat being vacated by Councilman Jeff Comerchero who is retiring after his term expires.

District 5 includes the area spanning most of Interstate 15, including most of the Jefferson Avenue Corridor, Old Town Temecula, the city's business park and Harveston.

For more information on Temecula districts, visit


Voters in Wildomar districts 1, 3 and 5 will cast their votes in the 2018 city council election. Those living in districts 2 and 4 will have their turn in 2020. All residents can vote for federal and state elected officials and all ballot measures, including Wildomar Measure AA. If approved, Measure AA, a one-cent sales tax, would provide local funds for Wildomar's public safety and other city services. 

Current Councilman Ben Benoit is running unopposed in Wildomar's District 1.

The race for District 3 pits incumbent Timothy Walker against local businessman Joseph Morabito.

Incumbent Marsha Swanson is running unopposed to keep her seat in District 5.

For more information on Wildomar elections, district boundaries and an interactive map, visit

Lake Elsinore

In Lake Elsinore, residents who live in District 3 will be the only ones casting a vote for city council representation. District 1 was also scheduled to be included on the Nov. 6 ballot; however, since incumbent Brian Tisdale was the only person who filed candidacy papers, Council adopted Resolution No. 2018-116 appointing him as the duly elected candidate for District 1 and canceling the election for that district. 

Residents who live in Districts 2, 4 and 5 will cast their votes for representation on the council in the 2020 election. This year all Lake Elsinore residents can vote federal and state elected officials and all ballot measures placed before them.

In the race for the seat representing Lake Elsinore's 3rd District, incumbent Daryl Hickman faces negotiator and litigator Tim Sheridan who unsuccessfully challenged Congressman Ken Calvert to represent the 42nd Congressional District of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2014 and 2016.

District 3 encompasses the far eastern sector of the city.

For more information on Lake Elsinore elections, visit

Other City Council Elections

For residents in Menifee and Hemet, voting by district is nothing new. Both cities have used a by-district system for years, but to ensure full coverage of the elections in southwest Riverside County, here are the districts and those running for seats in them for both cities.


This year Menifee residents in Districts 2 and 4 will cast a vote for representation on that city's council. All residents will vote for vote federal and state elected officials and all ballot measures, including Measure I which addresses electing a mayor at large eliminating the at large mayor office in 2022 and the creation of a fifth city council district in 2022.

Also on the ballot for Menifee residents is Measure J, eliminating term limits for city council members and the mayor.

Residents in districts 1 and 3 will vote for representation during the 2020 election cycle.

In Menifee's District 2, incumbent Matt Liesemeyer is running unopposed.

In Menifee District 4, retired finance officer Dean Deines will face off against retired business owner Gloria J. Sanchez for the seat currently held by John Denver who has reached his term limit.

For more information on Menifee elections,


In Hemet, voters in Districts 2 and 5 will cast their votes for representation on that city's council. All residents will vote for vote federal and state elected officials and all ballot measures.

In District 2, incumbent Russ Brown will square off against business woman Stacie Olson.

In District 5 incumbent Linda Krupa will attempt to hold on to her seat against retired Marine Doug Arent.

For more information on city of Hemet elections, visit

San Jacinto


A map shows Temecula districts under the city's new by-election voting process.

San Jacinto is the only city in Valley News' coverage area still holding at-large elections. All residents in San Jacinto will cast votes for their top two candidates to represent the community at large, along with federal and state officials and all ballot measures that appear on their ballots.

Incumbent Alonso Ledezma is seeking re-election for another four-year term, while Scott Miller announced he would not be running for another term on that council. Challengers for the two open seats are former councilman Steven DiMemmo, quality control inspector Jeremy Fontes, business owner Joel Lopez, small-business owner Brian Reaser and business manager Mikel C. van der Linden.

For more information on San Jacinto elections, visit

Polls in all cities will be open on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

For more election information, visit

Kim Harris can be reached by email at [email protected]


Reader Comments

tomsuttle writes:

Re/Murrieta's T, I have to say I recognize the sad, sad fact that the city is in such a financial bind that T is necessary. When a city has a top tier fire dept, and that FD has to send out begging postcards and litter the landscape with big ad posters to be able to keep up its GREAT work, it's ridiculous. The reason this is necessary go back to incredible failures of two very different people on a council of over a decade ago. I'm embarrassed to say that I'm now forced to vote 'Yes' on T.


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