Long Beach 5th District City Council race hits reset button, has 2 new candidates

Long Beach’s 5th City Council district, which was rendered candidate-less by the city’s redistricting process last month, has two new contenders, with School Board Member Megan Kerr and former Harbor Commissioner Rich Dines announcing their intentions to run this week.

The city’s redistricting process that concluded last month shifted the East Long Beach district west and effectively drew out all declared candidates and incumbent Councilwoman Stacy Mungo Flanigan, who was expected to declare a run for a third term before the March 11 deadline.

Now, two candidates are stepping into the void. Kerr, a current LBUSD Board of Education member, announced Thursday that she’s entering the race. Kerr has served on the Board of Education since 2014 and is currently the board’s vice president.

“Long Beach is my hometown—I was born and raised here, attended Long Beach schools, met my husband here and raised our family here,” Kerr said in a statement. “I love Long Beach and know that I am the right person to represent this new 5th District created by the Independent Redistricting Committee.”

Kerr became eligible for the district after the Long Beach Independent Redistricting Commission shifted the district’s boundaries west to include Cal Heights, Bixby Knolls and Los Cerritos.

Kerr’s entrance was widely rumored when it became apparent that the new City Council boundaries would put her in the 5th District and Mungo Flanigan out. Kerr is a longtime friend of Mayor Robert Garcia, and one of her children, Christian, is a communications and research deputy in Garcia’s office.

Rich Dines, a former Port of Long Beach Harbor Commissioner, announced Monday that he is running for the 5th District again. Dines previously ran in 2018 but lost to Mungo Flanigan in a runoff. Dines also serves on the Cal State Long Beach Center for International Trade and Transportation Policy and serves on a political action committee for the ILWU Local 63.

“I’ve been honored to serve our community as a Harbor Commissioner, where I worked together with my colleagues and staff to improve efficiencies, implement new programs, and created thousands of new jobs,” Dines said in a statement. “After much thought and encouragement from neighbors and business leaders alike, I have chosen to run for City Council, where I feel I can continue to make a difference by working on behalf of our community.”

Dines, whose home remained in the 5th District throughout the commission’s map-drawing process, and Kerr, who will be officially eligible for the district once the map becomes effective Dec. 18, could be joined by other candidates before the ballot is locked in for next year. Candidates have until March 11 to declare candidacy for any upcoming race in Long Beach.

Mungo Flanigan has told supporters that she owns a home in the new 5th District boundaries but indicated that it would be a tough decision to move her family across the city to pursue a third and final term on the City Council. Mungo Flanigan would have to establish residency in the new district by Feb. 9 to be eligible to run in the June 2022 election.

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Long Beach’s 5th District needs a City Council candidate: Who wants to run?

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Jason Ruiz covers City Hall and politics for the Long Beach Post.
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