Defeated California Candidates Mistakenly Told They Are on Ballot

Alex Padilla (Justin Sullivan / Getty)
Justin Sullivan / Getty

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla’s office erroneously told two congressional candidates that they would be on the November ballot last month.

Padilla’s spokesman, Sam Mahood, blamed the error on an employee who he said had misread a printed copy of the election results.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the two candidates are Joe Shammas, who was challenging Democratic Rep. Tony Cardenas in the 29th Congressional District, and Democrat Patrea Patrick, who was told she was going up against incumbent Rep. Brad Sherman in the 30th Congressional District. Both candidates came in third place during the June primary elections.

Mahood told the Times that both candidates were mistakenly issued “a certificate of nomination due to clerical error in our elections division. The error was identified and corrected.” It reportedly took nearly two weeks for one of the candidates, Shammas, to receive the update.

He reportedly received a letter on July 19 indicating that he would be on the November ballot and called Padilla’s office to verify that there was no error. The Times reports that he was told there was no mistake which prompted Shammas to restart his campaign website, purchase yard signs and posters, and resume campaigning.

However, on Monday, he reportedly received a follow-up letter from Padilla’s office explaining that he would not be on the ballot and asked him to return the original letter.

Although he was able to cancel his order for the signs and posters, he will still be responsible to pay a fee. He told the Times that he did not understand how Padilla’s office could have made this mistake and complained that the error cost him money and caused him a headache.

Democrat Richard Alarcon will face off against fellow Democrat Rep. Cardenas in November and Republican Mark Reed will face off against Rep. Sherman.

Last week, San Francisco Board of Supervisors President London Breed’s office also had a major “oops” incident when her office issued a scathing response to a visitor from Dallas, Texas who had written an email complaining about the city’s poor trash collection. Breed’s office blamed the error on a volunteer who she said has since been let go.

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz


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