Saturday, August 13, 2005 | There are so many candidates running in the Nov. 8 elections for council seats in Districts 2 and 8 that you never know who you’re going to run into at an election forum.

Maybe even your ex.

Greg Finley and Linda Finley formerly co-owned Finley’s House of Carpets while they were married for seven years in the 1980s. The ex-husband and ex-wife are now vying to replace former Councilman Michael Zucchet after he and then-colleague Ralph Inzunza stepped down amid federal corruption charges.

The Finleys said it’s unplanned that they find themselves political opponents.

“I had no idea he was running,” said Linda, who lives in a hotel downtown. “I know my ex-husband loves San Diego, too, but it’s purely, 100-percent, bona-fide coincidence.”

“It’s interesting,” said Greg, who said the former couple don’t regularly talk but thinks their son, Thomas, might have tipped off Linda.

Seventeen District 2 residents are tentatively set to compete for the council seat vacated by Zucchet and nine San Diegans are set to replace Inzunza in District 8. Both men were convicted on federal charges in July, and the two candidate fields are mixed with seasoned campaigners who have sought office before as well as political neophytes.

The District 2 candidates, in alphabetical order, along with their listed profession and neighborhood of residence:

– Kathleen Blavatt, owner of a graphic communications business, Ocean Beach.

– Carolyn Chase, owner and president of a publishing and production services company, Pacific Beach.

– David Diehl, small businessman, Ocean Beach.

– Tom Eaton, teacher, Pacific Beach.

– Kevin Faulconer, vice president of a public affairs company, Point Loma.

– Greg Finley, retired carpet business executive and real estate agent, Point Loma.

– Linda Finley, sales associate, Core-Columbia.

– Lorena Gonzalez, environmental attorney, Crown Point.

– Rich Grosch, teacher, hotelier and community college district trustee, Ocean Beach.

– Allen Hujsak, designer and co-owner of a software company, Mission Beach.

– Robert E. Lee, security officer, Gaslamp.

– Phil Meinhardt, real estate agent, Marina.

– Jim Morrison, apartment manager, Pacific Beach.

– George Richard Najjar, self-employed attorney, Bankers Hill.

– Tim Rutherford, self-employed attorney, Point Loma.

– Ian Trowbridge, retired professor, Mission Hills.

– Pat Zaharopoulos, deputy state attorney general, Core-Columbia.

The District 8 candidates:

– Luis Acle, school board president, Golden Hill.

– Regimia Bermúdez, teacher, Sherman Heights.

– Dan Coffey, vice president of a real estate company, Otay Mesa.

– Tim Gomez, self-employed notary public, Ocean Crest.

– Douglas Holbrook, self-employed attorney, Grant Hill.

– Ben Hueso, organizational consultant, Logan Heights.

– Matthew Moncayo, communications analyst, San Ysidro.

– Lincoln Pickard, Web publisher, Palm City.

– Kathy Vandenheuvel, environmental engineer, Golden Hill.

Papers were temporarily approved by the City Clerk’s Office on Friday, but the field will not be officially set until the county registrar’s verification, which should happen by midweek, Lane said.

The 26 candidates all met Friday’s deadline to return nominating papers, at least 100 signatures and a $200 fee. Candidates that collected 800 verifiable signatures could get their candidate fee waived.

Assistant City Clerk Joyce Lane said that the 13-candidate District 2 race in 2001 was likely the previous record for that district, and that the nine candidates in the 1979 District 8 election is probably the most challengers in that district.

“I think it’s because of everything that’s happening in the city,” Lane said, likely referring to the political turmoil caused by federal and local probes into the city’s books, the convicted councilmen, a resigned mayor and a suspended credit rating for the city – among other troubles.

If no candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote in each Nov. 8 contest, the top two contenders continue campaigning up until a runoff election, which will likely be held in December or January, City Clerk Liz Maland said. The clerk, city attorney and county registrar are studying a potential date.

The elected winners will have to turn around and start campaigning for the next term’s primary, which will be held in June.

Please contact Evan McLaughlin directly at

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