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Supervisor vacancy sparks wide interest

North County Supervisor Mike McGuire's sudden decision not to run for re-election has created an opening for more than a half-dozen potential candidates lining up to succeed him.

The list includes some surprises, like Santa Rosa City Council member Erin Carlstrom, who acknowledged Wednesday she may not run against McGuire for State Senate as previously announced, but instead seek his vacant county seat.

Others who said they are weighing a run for McGuire's Fourth District seat in next year's election include Windsor Councilwoman Debora Fudge, who lost at two previous supervisorial runs, and Windsor Councilman Steve Allen, who could be the lone Republican in the non-partisan race.

Cloverdale Vice Mayor Carol Russell also says she is giving “serious thought” to a run for McGuire's seat.

Healdsburg City Councilman Tom Chambers also joined the growing list, saying Thursday “I'm pretty serious” about potentially pursuing the job, which pays $134,000 annually.

Oscar Chavez, a Windsor School Board member and assistant director of Sonoma County Human Services, said he is in the “exploratory phase” of whether to become a candidate in the race.

James Gore, a former U.S. Department of Agriculture appointee in the Obama administration who recently moved back to Sonoma County, said Wednesday “I'm thinking about it and seriously considering it.”

So far, only two people are definite: former Healdsburg Mayor Pete Foppiano, a real estate and loan broker, confirmed he definitely will run.

And Keith Rhinehart, a past dark horse candidate for supervisor in 2012 in Sonoma Valley's First District before he dropped out of the race, took out candidate papers this week.

“I can confirm I'm running,” said Rhinehart, 60, a former United Parcel Service supervisor and substitute teacher who now lives in Wikiup.

Would-be candidates have time to decide. The deadline to file for the June primary election isn't until March 12.

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