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By Brian Park

San Juan Capistrano City Council candidates Roy Byrnes, Melissa Abbott-Kaffen and Kim McCarthy. File photo

And then there were five.

San Juan Capistrano City Council candidate Melissa Abbott-Kaffen announced today that she will no longer seek office and will now support the joint campaign of Roy Byrnes and Kim McCarthy.

Calling it a “coalition-building move,” Abbott-Kaffen cited the pair’s work with the Capistrano Common Sense, a local watchdog group and publishers of a blog and monthly newsletter, as an indicator of their shared political philosophies.

“Since we are virtually on the same team … it makes no sense to dilute the vote with three reform candidates seeking the same two crucial seats,” Abbott-Kaffen said in a news release prepared by the Capistrano Common Sense. “I am convinced that it is imperative for solid reform candidates to win both open seats in November if we are to make the changes so badly needed in our town with respect to such important issues as water, traffic and debt.”

Abbott-Kaffen, who publishes her own political blog,, told The Dispatch that she will still be “heavily involved” in the election as a supporter of Byrnes and McCarthy.

Abbott-Kaffen’s name will still appear on the November 6 ballot, however, as the deadline to officially withdraw has passed, according to the city clerk’s office.

“I’m not surprised. I have known Melissa for some time and am familiar with her commitment to our community,” McCarthy said in the release. “Her selfless action puts the future of our town into the hands of the residents, where it belongs.”

Byrnes, who served on the council between 1972 and 1976, added: “I am impressed with Melissa’s level of commitment. I welcome her input and energy that she will bring to the common sense solutions campaign.”

Councilman Derek Reeve also voiced his support for Abbott-Kaffen’s decision in the release.

“Melissa is a sincere constitutional conservative dedicated to bettering our community,” Reeve said. “Realizing the important of changing course on the City Council, and the likelihood of that not being achieved if she remained in the race, Melissa has courageously decided to step aside for the greater good of our residents.”

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