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Running for Elective Office

Candidate Guide

If you are interested in becoming a candidate for City Council, please contact the City Clerk (650-522-7040) to schedule an appointment for review and issuance of a Candidate packet. The nomination instructions are fully contained in the Candidate Guide (coming soon). This information is provided to assist candidates in understanding the requirements necessary to run for municipal office. The manual is provided as a guide and should not substitute for legal, accounting or other professional services. Samples in this manual are not official forms and are provided for illustrative purposes only. Official forms are available only from the City Clerk.
Candidates are also encouraged to review the City Council's Guidelines.

Who Can Run for City Council?

Any member of the public who meets the requirements below may run for public office in the City of San Mateo. Candidates must:

  • Be at least eighteen years of age 
  • Be a citizen of the United States and a resident of the State of California 
  • Be a registered voter of the City of San Mateo
  • Have resided continuously in San Mateo for at least 30 days immediately preceding the appointment or final filing date for nomination papers. Registration will be verified before issuance of nomination papers.

Nomination Period

The nomination period opens on Monday July 17, 2017 to Friday August 11, 2017 at 5:00pm, and is extended if an incumbent does not file until Wednesday August 16, 2017.

Three Council seats will be open in this year's election. A General Municipal Election will be held in the City of San Mateo on Tuesday, November 3, 2015 for the following Officers:

For 3 members of the City Council for a full term of four years for these seats:

  • Rick Bonilla
  • Joe Goethals
  • David Lim

Nomination Forms

Candidates must obtain and complete the official nomination documents that are issued by the Office of the City Clerk. This is done during the official nomination period (July-August of an election year). For a Special Election, the nomination period will vary depending on the date of the Special Election. Please contact the Office of the City Clerk for more information. Nomination forms are issued at no charge.

Office hours are Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. except for City holidays. To schedule an appointment, please contact the Office of the City Clerk at (650) 522-7040 or . A candidate should be prepared to provide their name and residential address for validation of current voter registration and eligibility status. 

Candidate Briefing

Individuals qualified to run for office are encouraged to attend the candidate briefing on:

Date:  Tuesday, August 22, 2017
Time:  6:00pm
Place:  City Hall Council Chambers, 330 W. 20th Ave, San Mateo, CA 94403

Candidate briefings are open to the public and intended to provide an instructional overview of the deadlines, regulations, and process for running for office.


San Mateo City Council Terms

San Mateo City Council Members are elected to serve four-year terms. Incumbent City Council Members may only serve up to three consecutive terms. No partial term of office shall be counted as any portion of the consecutive terms. The term expirations for the City Council are staggered so that only half of the offices expire at a time.

In the event that a City Council seat becomes vacant, that seat shall be filled by appointment by the Council.


San Mateo City Hall – 330 West 20th Avenue, San Mateo, CA 94403

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