How do you see who’s running for office? There is an official filing to get on the ballot a few months before the election, but the decision is usually made much earlier. One way to tell if someone is at least tentatively running is to look for any campaign finance filings. In order to collect any money as a candidate, in California you need to file a Form 501: Candidate Intention Statement. For local races, you can use the county elections department site.

Here I describe how to figure this out for the school board race for West Contra Costa USD Nov. 2018, but it should be generalizable for other searches. Unfortunately, you can’t deep link to the info. You have to click (expand) a few times on a starting page.

  1. Here’s the link that gets you to the starting page for Contra Costa County (“?AID=ccc”):
  2. The next step is to scroll down.
  3. Then you need to expand the appropriate sections.
  4. Click on a candidate to look at their filings.
  5. The link to a view a particular filing is in the last column.