Stacy Korsgaden is nothing if not tenacious.
Fresh off a big defeat in the District 3 Board of Supervisors race — which followed a previous election loss in 2020 — she’s trying again.
This time, she’s running for mayor of Grover Beach.
“I got a couple of calls from people who inquired if I would consider it,” she said in a telephone interview. “I looked at the opportunity and decided to run last week.”
To be sure, there are many perennial candidates who throw their hat in the ring year after year, knowing they have little chance of winning, but nonetheless wanting their voices to be heard.
Korsgaden, though, is a serious candidate who spends serious money — nearly $185,000 in her latest campaign for supervisor.
And despite two recent losses, she believes she has a shot at winning in her hometown, where she’s best known.
“I’m in this to win it,” she said, “and I’m in it to represent all the people of Grover Beach.”
In the June primary, Korsgaden lost the supervisor’s race to Dawn Ortiz-Legg by nearly 30 percentage points.
But she performed much better in 2020, when she ran against the late Adam Hill, whose flawed behavior made him a vulnerable candidate. (He was given to public outbursts and, following his death, was found to have accepted bribes in exchange for votes.) Korsgaden lost to Hill by just 2 percentage points.
This time, though, she’ll face some of the same obstacles that dogged her when she ran against Ortiz-Legg.
Again, she is a far-right Republican running in a city where 47% of registered voters are Democrat, compared to 40% Republican.
And once again, she’ll face off against a candidate who is more appealing to moderate voters — Grover Beach City Councilwoman Karen Bright. (Jeff Lee, the current mayor, has termed out.)
“I wish her luck. ... She’s a nice lady,” Bright said of Korsgaden. “I don’t see where she has a whole lot of experience in municipal government.”
Bright, on the other hand, has a long history of involvement in local politics. She served three terms on the Grover Beach Planning Commission; two consecutive terms on the City Council, from 2008 to 2016; and was elected again in 2020. She’s represented the city on several regional boards, including the county Air Pollution Control District.
In addition to a lack of experience in public office, Korsgaden has other, much weightier baggage.
She attended the Jan. 6, 2021, pre-insurrection Trump “Save America” rally in Washington, D.C., though she did not go inside the Capitol building and has condemned the violence there.
But in the eyes of some voters, that automatically disqualifies her from holding office.
On top of her attendance at the rally, she’s been reluctant to acknowledge that Joe Biden was legitimately elected president.
She joined other Republican hopefuls in railing against continuing corruption in San Luis Obispo County, without offering solid evidence to back it up other than pointing fingers at anyone who had any kind of connection to Adam Hill.
And she has a penchant for sending below-the-belt campaign mailers that have turned off some voters in past contests.
Still, we would agree with Bright that Korsgaden is indeed a “nice lady.”
She’s polite and congenial in person, and unlike other certain other losing candidates in the June supervisor election, she had the good grace to congratulate her opponent after her defeat.
The Grover Beach election will likely be much lower-key than a supervisor’s race, but it will still be an interesting one to watch.
It will be another test of Republican strength in a county that’s turning increasingly blue, and it will give Grover Beach voters a crystal-clear choice between two very unlike-minded candidates.
“Her outlook is so different from mine,” Bright said. “It will be up to the voters to decide what sort of leader they’re looking for.”
And isn’t that what democracy is all about?