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By Breeana Greenberg

San Clemente Mayor Pro Tem Chris Duncan, a Democrat, has announced his candidacy for California’s 74th Assembly District race, as he looks to challenge Republican incumbent Laurie Davies for the seat.

In early January, Laurie Girand, a San Juan Capistrano resident and activist, had announced her intention to run in the state’s Primary Election as a Democrat. However, after the California Democratic Party stated its plans to support Duncan in the race, she announced that she would suspend her campaign.

“When I have pursued causes, it has always been to make a difference on behalf of children, families, neighborhoods, and communities,” Girand wrote in a Facebook post from Feb. 16. “I have ample opportunities to make a difference outside of elected office. With those in mind, I am suspending my campaign for State Assembly.”

Girand told The Capistrano Dispatch on Friday, Feb. 18, that she plants to elevate issues that are important to the electorate moving down the road and focus on getting unregistered voters registered. She added she ran to work on issues important to the electorate and the party.

Duncan is currently the only Democrat who has filed for candidacy in the 74th Assembly District race, however, the deadline to file is March 11.

In response to Girand suspending her campaign, Duncan said that having one candidate from the California Democratic Party would help to unify party support behind his campaign.

“I certainly support anyone who volunteers for public service,” Duncan said. “But I think it allows the Democratic Party to unify behind our grassroots campaign and gives us a shot to win in November.”

The California Democratic Party announced Feb. 12 during a pre-endorsement conference that it plans to support Duncan in the Assembly race. During the conference, Duncan received 79.63% of the state party’s votes, with Girand receiving 11.11%, according to the California Democratic Party’s website.

“I’m very grateful to get the Democratic Party’s early endorsement,” Duncan said in response to the state party’s support. “And what it means for the race is that there’ll be a unified effort to support our campaign through the Primary and into the General Election.”

Duncan previously campaigned for the State Assembly seat in 2020, when the seat was under the 73rd District, but lost in the Primary race receiving 18.4% of the vote. Davies went to win the Assembly seat in the 2020 General Election against Democrat Scott Rhinehart.

Following the 2020 Primary race, Duncan pivoted to San Clemente’s local elections, running for one of the two open seats on the City Council. Receiving 18.35% of the vote, Duncan was elected to the San Clemente City Council alongside Gene James, the incumbent.

This past December, the council appointed Duncan to the mayor pro tem role for 2022. His term on the San Clemente council ends in 2024.

Breeana Greenberg is the city reporter for the Dana Point Times. She graduated from Chapman University with a bachelor of arts degree in English. Before joining Picket Fence Media, she worked as a freelance reporter with the Laguna Beach Independent. Breeana can be reached by email at bgreenberg@picketfencemedia.com

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