Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido is not running for reelection after 26 years in office

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Miguel Pulido isn’t seeking reelection as the mayor of Santa Ana, passing the baton for the first time in 26 years. Pulido first assumed office in 1994 and has won reelection ever since. That’s a lifetime for many of his constituents.

But then in 2012, voters approved a limit of four two-year consecutive terms. That means Pulido’s time in office expires at the end of this year.

“He didn’t want to leave. He wasn’t going to go anywhere if it were up to him. But now he absolutely has to, so bye-bye Pulido,” says Gustavo Arellano, host of KCRW’s “Orange County Line.”

Arellano says Pulido is a different politician than when he was first elected to the Santa Ana City Council in 1986. 

“He was this rise-up-from-the-streets, people-power, we-gotta-take-on-City-Hall. So he was elected with a wave of young voters. And also this was a time in 1986 when the City of Santa Ana was going through these demographic changes. By the time he becomes mayor in 1994, he was already part of the good ol’ boys network.”

Arellano says one of Pulido’s greatest legacies is a trolley that will run from the train station, through downtown, up to Garden Grove. The unpopular project is expected to be complete by 2022.

Now six mayoral candidates are vying for Pulido’s seat, including four current and former City Council members.