OCEANSIDE, Calif. -- Oceanside City Councilman Jerry Kern is making an unusual endorsement in the race for treasurer: he’s supporting a candidate who died last week.
Incumbent Oceanside City Treasurer Gary Ernst passed away from complications from diabetes at the age of 61. However, it's too late for the San Diego County Registrar of Voters to take his name off the November ballot.
"Vote for him anyway, because then we can get somebody who is qualified in there," Kern said.
If Ernst still beats candidate Nadine Scott, the Oceanside City Council has two options. It could either call a special election for $500,000 or appoint someone to the position.
Scott told 10News Wednesday she is qualified for the job, which oversees more than $300 million of investments.
"I have governmental experience," Scott said. "I have a law degree and a legal background. and I also have been a district treasurer for a government agency for 20 years."
Kern called Scott a disruption to the Oceanside City Council. He claims Ernst would have run away with the election if he were still alive. Scott believes Kern is incorrect.
"He's entitled to his opinion. I wouldn't agree with that. I'm a caring, concerned advocate for my community of Oceanside."
It's too late for the Registrar of Voters to remove Ernst's name from the ballot, so Oceanside voters like Tiffany Hultgen will still have to decide between the two.
"It's kind of an important rule in the community," she said. "I will be doing some more research now, definitely."
Ernst has been treasurer since 2010, when he was appointed. He was re-elected in 2012. That year, he ran unopposed.