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The race for City Council in the city’s new 9th District has narrowed to two candidates.

Our media partner, Speak City Heights, reports that two early candidates, activist Katt Eaton and lawyer Araceli Martinez, have withdrawn from the race.

That leaves only two candidates vying to represent the new district covering City Heights: Councilwoman Marti Emerald, who currently represents the city’s 7th District, and Georgette Gomez, an environmental advocate and political newcomer active with many City Heights nonprofits.

Gomez’s emergence and Eaton’s endorsement of her have set a clear tenor for the race. Advocates active in community development in the low-income, immigrant area are trying to flex new muscle now that City Heights is at the district’s center.

Emerald, a Democrat, currently represents the eastern neighborhoods north and south of Interstate 8, including Tierrasanta, Allied Gardens, College Area neighborhoods and a portion of City Heights.

But by moving to the College Area, Emerald is betting that she’ll have a better shot at re-election. The more liberal College Area neighborhoods were moved into the new 9th District, along with all of City Heights, during the recent redistricting process that redrew council district boundaries.

The new 9th District is shaded brown below:

More than 50 percent of the district’s residents are Latino. And while it also includes more politically active, affluent, whiter neighborhoods like the College Area and Kensington-Talmadge, its largest population base is in City Heights, which makes up just more than half of the district’s 145,000 residents, according to Census figures.

Emerald, who is white, will run against a Latina in a majority Latino district that the city’s Redistricting Commission drew to help Latinos elect a second council representative. Gomez has a long history of involvement in City Heights. She works for the nonprofit Environmental Health Coalition and has been involved in local initiatives to improve health and quality of life for low income and minority residents of the community.

But she has never sought elected office. And she faces an immediate fundraising hurdle.

Emerald is after her second City Council term, and has about $30,000 on hand for her campaign, and $1,600 in debts, according to her most recent financial disclosures. Gomez just launched her fundraising campaign at a reception last week.

So far, no other candidates have said they intend to run for the 9th District seat. Candidates must file by March 8.

Adrian Florido is a reporter for voiceofsandiego.org. He covers San Diego’s neighborhoods. What should he write about next?

Contact him directly at adrian.florido@voiceofsandiego.org or at 619.325.0528.

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Adrian Florido

Adrian Florido is a former staff writer for Voice of San Diego.

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