Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo has endorsed John Sawyer in his bid for an open seat on the Board of Supervisors.

Carrillo backed Sawyer over Susan Gorin, who also is seeking the supervisor's seat for the 1st District, which encompasses east Santa Rosa and Sonoma Valley.

Sawyer and Gorin are Santa Rosa City Councilmembers.

Carrillo and Sawyer announced the endorsement Thursday at a press event at La Favorita Carniceria on Highway 12 in Fetters Hot Springs outside of Sonoma.

"John has demonstrated his commitment to serve the Sonoma Valley and all the residents of the First District," Carrillo said in an a written statement released as part of the event.

Carrillo, who was reelected to a second term in June, is the third sitting supervisor to endorse in the race. Shirlee Zane, the board chairwoman, has backed Gorin while Valerie Brown, the current 1st District supervisor who is retiring at the end of this year, has supported Sawyer.

The other two board members, David Rabbitt and Mike McGuire, have not endorsed in the race. McGuire said he has no plans to do so, calling it a "personal policy" not to endorse in a race for an open board seat.

Sawyer welcomed Carrillo's endorsement in the prepared statement, calling him "an exceptional leader" and praising his "balanced decisions" on economic and environmental issues.

The two politicians enjoy support from many of the same business, real estate and development interests.

Gorin, meanwhile, has drawn much of her support from the public labor unions and environmental groups that have backed Zane.

Sawyer and Gorin are set to square off in a League of Women Voters candidates' forum Oct. 18, at 7 p.m. at the Sonoma City Council community room, 177 W. First St.

You can reach Staff Writer Brett Wilkison at 521-5295 or