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Deadline passes to join race for Bksfd mayor

Posted at 5:40 PM, Mar 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-16 20:41:01-04

Wednesday was the last day to become a candidate for mayor. Candidates had until 5:00pm to submit all of their necessary paperwork.

Since February 17th, the day after current Mayor Harvey Hall announced he would not seek re-election, 34 people have pulled the necessary documents to become a candidate. 

As of 3:00pm Wednesday, 21 candidates were certified and in the race.

The city clerk, Roberta Gafford said she was not expecting the large interest in running for mayor. 

"I thought maybe we should make 10 candidate packets for the year, let's start there, I think that might be what the interest might be. I did not expect 34 people," said Gafford. 

Among the candidates are a jeweler, a former Kern County Supervisor and a vocal music instructor. She said the amount of people in the race has kept the city clerk's office busy. 

"Every day has been hectic. Every day we've had inquiries, we've had the media we've had people calling from all over, wanting to know -- even those in the county -- wanting to run for mayor," said Gafford. 

Local residents said there are many qualities they'll look for in a candidate when they vote in the election. 

Lamar Joseph Kerley said he wants someone "to represent everyone and focus on the positive and help us to find solutions to problems."

While Tami Battenfield said she wants someone who is a person of God and bases their decisions on a scriptural concept.

And Melissa Hall said, "They should exhibit kindness; they should exhibit caring for all citizens as much as possible."

A few other residents said it was important that the next mayor focuses on issues that residents believe are important.

"I would just hope that they focus on families you know, they focus on employment, on organizations like after school programs," said Claudia Flores.

While Jake Hunt said he would like to see downtown be revitalized. 

Mayor Hall said it is important for candidates to know the requirements of the job and what they plan on doing beyond those requirements.

"I think each candidate stands on their own, it's what they're willing to bring to the job. They're required to run the council meetings, sign all the public documents for the city and work to bring new business to the city. That's all their chartered responsibilities are," said Mayor Hall. 

Mayor Hall said he hopes the next candidate continues his beautification of Bakersfield, his work to fight homelessness and continue reaching out to Bakersfield's youth. 

"I just hope that they will give it their best effort and not use it as a platform, but use it to do the duties of the mayor and hopefully they can be successful at it," said Mayor Hall.

Mayor Hall said originally he wanted to meet with all of the candidates and endorse someone early, but because of the large turnout he will wait until after the primaries to endorse someone. 

The city clerk's office said they should have the final number of candidates in the race by Friday.