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By Andrea Papagianis

Three out of 12 potential candidates for three soon-to-be open seats on the Dana Point Council have been verified by the Orange County Registrar of Voters and are now labeled official candidates for November’s municipal race. They are: Joe Mueller, Chuck Rathbone and Richard Viczorek, said City Clerk Kathy Ward.

The candidates’ 20 required signatures from registered Dana Point voters were all verified by the registrar’s office as of Thursday afternoon.

There are nine other potential candidates who also visited City Hall and pulled papers, they include: Martin Chokany, Ryan Divel, Denise Erkeneff, Nancy Jenkins, Harold Kaufman, Anthony Kelly, Jody Payne, John Tomlinson and Alan Wickstrom. They had not submitted papers as of Thursday.

The nominating period for all candidates closes Wednesday, Aug. 13 at 5:30 p.m.

“I expect a lot of activity here,” Ward said of the next week as the deadline approaches.

By next Thursday, all council candidates will be named and the Secretary of State’s Office will randomly select the order in which their names appear on the ballot.

Council candidates are vying for three seats on the five-member body being vacated by Mayor Lisa Bartlett and Councilmen Bill Brough and Steven Weinberg. Both Bartlett and Brough are running for higher office while Weinberg is termed out of his seat.

Bartlett goes up against Laguna Niguel Councilman Robert Ming for the Orange County Board of Supervisor 5th District seat currently held by Pat Bates. Bates is running unopposed for California State Senate. Brough will face opponent Wendy Gabriella for the 73rd Assembly District.

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