Campaigning makes people say the darndest things. Here are just some of the memorable quotes from my interviews with the District 1 candidates for City Council last week.

• “I don’t know if we wanted that out,” Ray Ellis said about donating to Nathan Fletcher before Carl DeMaio in the mayoral election. Ellis and DeMaio are backed by the Republican Party. Fletcher recently left it.

• “I wasn’t working on bombs,” Sherri Lightner said about her career as an engineer. “I was working on nuclear fission reactors.”

• “Shit, I got to get a mailer out,” Bryan Pease said after realizing absentee ballots will be mailed out to voters next week.

• “I want somebody who’s going to stand next to me as a bulldozer runs us over,” Dennis Ridz said about the passion he wants to see in his City Council representative.

Aside from highlighting these quotes, I wanted to add two more nuggets from my time on District 1’s campaign trail. The short bites below didn’t make it into the candidate profiles.

Pease Undecided in Mayoral Race

Pease is a registered Democrat and outspoken progressive, but he hasn’t decided to back Congressman Bob Filner for mayor. That’s interesting because Filner is the only registered Democrat in the race. At least on paper, Pease would appear a dead-lock for Filner.

But Pease said he is torn between Filner and Fletcher. He said he admired Fletcher’s courage to speak against restrictions on gays in the military and Fletcher’s recent decision to leave the Republican Party.

“I like stuff like that,” Pease said. “It’s not what’s holding me back on Filner. I just really like Fletcher.”

Pease and Ridz Campaigning Together

Pease reached into his pocket, pulled out of his cell phone and said, “Oh, it’s Dennis.” It was Friday afternoon and Sam Hodgson was just about to photograph Pease for our story.

Pease decided to take the call from Dennis Ridz, another District 1 candidate. Hodgson looked at me — confused as I was — and decided to just start shooting pictures anyway.

Photo by Sam Hodgson

Ridz called Pease to share that Ellis had claimed victory over a candidates’ forum days earlier. Pease laughed and replied, “All he did was talk about pensions!”

After he hung up, Pease explained that he was working with Ridz to organize joint campaign events. Pease is a Democrat and Ridz is a Republican, but they both want to highlight issues like government transparency and civic engagement.

They see themselves as underdogs fighting against Lightner and Ellis, who are each endorsed by political parties and other powerful groups. Pease and Ridz decided they stood a better chance of gaining traction with voters if they pooled some of their resources.

“We can reach across ideological differences and not focus on our political parties,” Ridz later told me about their partnership.

Keegan Kyle is a news reporter for Voice of San Diego. He writes about local government, creates infographics and handles the Fact Check Blog. What should he write about next?

Please contact him directly at or 619.550.5668. You can also find him on Twitter (@keegankyle) and Facebook.

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