Bypassing the incumbent, the Orange County Register has endorsed two candidates—Jim Gardner and Dwight Robinson—for Lake Forest City Council.
Among the seven contenders running for two open seats Nov. 6, Gardner and Robinson "rank highest when measured against the Register's long-standing principles of small, limited government," the editorial board wrote.
Both candidates have run unsuccesfully for council previously.
For Gardner—who says this race is his last—news of the endorsement came as a surprise.
Spending Monday morning distributing campaign flyers on foot left his legs aching, Gardner said.
"Suddenly they have new life in them," he said.
Gardner in the 2010 election earned 18.2 percent of Lake Forest votes, falling 540 votes shy of a seat. In 2008, he picked up 12,313 votes, or 28.9 percent, landing about 2,500 votes behind incumbent Mark Tettemer.
Robinson has also previously campaigned for a seat on the Lake Forest City Council.
"I am honored to have the endorsement of the Orange County Register, especially since there are a number of good, qualified candidates this year," Robinson said Monday. "I believe this is the first time in many, many years that they have endorsed candidates for local office so I am grateful to have their support."
In 2002, Robinson garnered 6,035, or 14.1 percent of the vote. A margin of 1,901 votes separated him from the late Richard Dixon, who earned the third open council seat.
Robinson's pledge to eliminate pay and pension benefits for council members, and to donate his stipends to charity until such a policy is adopted, received the board's praise.
However, Robinson's interest in limited government should carry over to the education arena, the board wrote.
"We hope in applying that guideline, Mr. Robinson shows restraint when considering how, if at all, the city should assist public schools with 'investment from the City,' which his campaign website says he favors," the editorial states.
The paper dubbed "particularly gratifying" Gardner's claim that he will refuse to accept business or money "from any company or any person that does business with the city" and will demand full disclosure from all council members.
Gardner should oppose any proposal for the city to acquire property to resell for commercial development as he pursues his goal of a "city-wide commission to deal with the problem of urban blight," the editorial board also wrote.
Incumbent Marcia Rudolph is running for another term; two-term council member Tettemer is not seeking reelection.
Editor's note: Patch does not endorse candidates.