In what I’ll assume is not a rhetorical question, one reader asks: “Who are our candidates running this year?” Though the filing period doesn’t officially open until February, many candidates with elections in June are obviously up and running. A partial list can be found on our website.

Keeping the San Diego City Council in Democratic hands will be a top priority. When the next council votes on public safety, environmental protection, open government, labor issues, and affordable housing (for example), we need to at least maintain our 5-3 majority to avoid a 4-4 legislative deadlock that would effectively cede even more policy power to the “strong mayor.”

From the party’s perspective, two of the four council races may be close.

In District 7 we have consumer advocate Marti Emerald (interviewed in this space yesterday), a terrific candidate who appeals to voters across the board. This will be a costly and highly competitive race, but we plan to help her win outright in June. We also have a great candidate in Sherri Lightner, whose credentials as a community activist in District 1 place her in stark relief to the self-financed Republicans running there. In District 3, one of several strong Democrats will prevail.

While we have not yet endorsed in these open seats, we have good candidates running (and planning to run) throughout the county.

I’d be remiss in not mentioning the most competitive race in town that’s officially partisan: the 78th Assembly District, which stretches from San Carlos south to Chula Vista. Of 120 offices in the state legislature, only a handful are deemed competitive — and the 78th is near the top of the list.

Look for one of our three Democrats running to reclaim this district, where Dems now outnumber Republicans by more than 15,000 votes. The campaign will attract attention and resources from around the state, but our county party is eager to put our local election programs into action.

Democratic turnout in neighborhoods covered by our volunteer precinct leaders — who live in the neighborhoods and work year-round — has consistently been at least several points higher than the county Democratic average. And we hear from new volunteers literally every day. So I feel very good about the grassroots organization we can apply on behalf of our candidates, whether they’re running for the U.S. Congress or the local school board.


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