WALNUT CREEK -- While the election may be five months away, one incumbent says she plans to seek a third term and others are throwing their hat in the ring, now that Mayor Kristina Lawson has decided not to run.

Two-time mayor Councilwoman Cindy Silva says she plans to run for re-election this November. And while she is surprised Lawson has decided to move on, Silva's mind is made up.

"I have thought long and hard about this ... I am dedicated to this community and I would be delighted to continue to work for the residents," Silva said.

Her focus has been on the city's fiscal health and that will continue if she is re-elected because there is still a lot of work to be done, she said.

The nomination period for the Nov. 4 general election doesn't begin until July 14. Candidates have until Aug. 8 -- or Aug. 13 if an incumbent doesn't run -- to file their papers with the city clerk.

But those dates aren't stopping some from announcing their intention to run now.

Rich Carlston, a longtime civically engaged resident, said he had already been approached by community leaders to run, and now with Lawson out, he wants to be in.

"This seems to be the right time for me to run," he said Wednesday.

Carlston is a former Park, Recreation and Open Space Commission chairman, an 11-year member of the Walnut Creek Chamber of Commerce board (with time served as chairman) and a Walnut Creek Library Foundation board member. He retired earlier this year from Miller Starr Regalia, where he was in charge of the law firm's litigation department.

While Carlston says he is running for Lawson's seat, he could potentially be up against his friend Silva if others run. Carlston ran her re-election campaign in 2010 and was prepared to do so again until he decided to run himself.

Silva said she is pleased Carlston is seeking a council seat.

Contact Elisabeth Nardi at 925-952-2617. Follow her at Twitter.com/enardi10.