San Diego voters have a stark choice for mayor in November: the famously partisan liberal Democrat Rep. Bob Filner or the famously partisan conservative Republican Councilman Carl DeMaio.

And it looks like control of the City Council will be up for grabs in November.

“The success of DeMaio and Filner sets up a monumental clash between two politicians rarely victorious in city politics: anti-downtown partisans,” Liam Dillon writes.

• You do not want to miss Sam Hodgson’s photos from the night. Start the slideshow on our homepage.

• Before the results came in, Scott Lewis laid out the five dramas he was following for the night. It helps put the night’s developments in context.

• In a peculiar bit of sore-loser-ness, a mayoral spokesman predicted via Twitter that voters will recall the ultimate victor in the mayor’s race by 2014.

“You have two figures who are on opposite sides of the political spectrum and they both will have a large sector of the electorate who clearly won’t support their respective agendas,” spokesman Darren Pudgil told the U-T.

Why so cranky? Well, the mayor’s pick — District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis — came in a distant fourth. His second choice won’t advance to the runoff. Yet the guy he accused of slinging “bullshit” (or whatever it is that you do with it) led them all.  

Now the question is whether the mayor will show a preference between Filner or DeMaio to succeed him. His former spokeswoman, Rachel Laing, doesn’t see it going to DeMaio.

Pension Reform Passes, but Its Future Is Murky

It’s been some 40 years since something this big happened to the city pension system. Yesterday, San Diego voters overwhelmingly supported Proposition B , the measure that will route new city employees to 401(k)-style retirement benefits instead of the guaranteed pensions their predecessors enjoy.

Fans of the measure took a victory lap. “I do think it definitively ends the pension crisis,” said Mayor Jerry Sanders.

But the city still owes its current and previous employees — a bill that will hit $231 million in the next year alone. That bill climbs for years until it suddenly falls. That fall would have happened as a result of previous efforts to lower pensions for future employees.

Proposition B does get the city out of the guaranteed pension business, though, and shedding that risk, supporters say, was worth the effort.

Much of the savings predicted in Prop. B come from a five-year pay freeze that the Council will have to implement or overrule with a supermajority. Labor groups have already sued and plan to go back to court again.

Big Questions after Prop. A Victory

Prop. A, which bans the city in many cases from requiring union-friendly contracts in construction projects, won easily. The big question now is whether its victory will hurt the city financially if it goes for state grants. Supporters of Prop. A say a loophole will protect the city.

City Council Majority at Stake in November

It appears only one City Council race — the one for District 1 — is heading to a run-off. In the other races, candidates won easily (incumbent Marti Emerald), had no opposition (incumbent Todd Gloria and Mark Kersey) or appear likely to get half the vote (Scott Sherman, a Republican who may snatch the seat formerly held by Emerald if he stays at over 50 percent).

If Sherman wins, the race in District 1 between Sherri Lightner, the incumbent who lost support from some in organized labor, and rival Ray Ellis, a Republican, will head to the sole runoff.

Also: Lest we forget, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, who had no opposition, was elected to another term.

School Board President May Have Battle on Hands

John Lee Evans, the president of the school board, had a close race in his district and now will face his rivalMark Powell, in the citywide election this fall.

Democratic Party chairman Jess Durfee pointed out, in November, voters from across the city will weigh in on the race. It will be a more Democratic electorate than the district is.

Nothing changed in the other school board races. Bill Ponder and Marne Foster will also face voters citywide now. And the larger pool of voters will also make that contest more interesting.

The Rest of the Big Races

Former councilman Scott Peters and former Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña were in a tight race to challenge Rep. Brian Bilbray in the fall, while state Senator Juan Vargas and incumbents Duncan D. Hunter, Darrell Issa and Susan Davis look to be in great shape for November.  

As of early this morning, the leaders in Assembly races were incumbents Ben Hueso and Toni Atkins along with former Councilman Brian Maienschein, Rocky J. Chavez, Brian Jones, Marie Waldron and Shirley Weber; incumbent Marty Block led in a state Senate race.

It looks like only Chavez will face a tough battle in November.

County Supervisors Dianne Jacob and Greg Cox were easily reelected; the seat being vacated by incumbent Pam Slater-Price will go to either Dave Roberts (a Democrat who actually got an endorsement from Slater-Price) or Steve Danon (a Republican) in November, the U-T reports. No Democrats currently serve on the county board.  

Attorney Gary Kreep, a longtime attorney for right-wing causes who’s been a prominent leader challenging the president’s citizenship, was in a close battle for a judgeship; as of the night’s final count, he was up by just 56 votes.

Voices of the Voters

Our reporters spread out to three City Council districts on Election Day, seeking voters who were willing to disclose their ballot choices.

Many voters waved us off, but some were willing to chat. In the new District 9, which covers a diverse swath of mid-city, some voters leaned to the left with votes against Prop. A and B and negative responses to the idea of DeMaio as mayor. One, however, supports him and said “nobody likes DeMaio because he actually takes a stand on things he thinks are important.”  

Over in District 7, which includes Allied Gardens, Tierrasanta, Serra Mesa and Linda Vista, voters talked about their firm opposition to Prop. B. Many weren’t familiar with the council candidates.

In District 1, which includes neighborhoods like La Jolla, University City and Carmel Valley, the most interesting response came from a woman who ran to her car yelling “I don’t know the issues!”

So glad you voted.

Should she have stayed home? As the U-T’s Logan Jenkins argued the other day, there’s no disgrace in declining to vote. Never mind those people who say it’s some kind of civic duty: “tomorrow’s primary is a biennial demonstration of your constitutionally protected right to not give a damn. Yes, it goes against the patriotic grain, but the freedom not to care is at the heart of why this is a great country.”

Jenkins adds the famous line about elections: “Don’t vote, it just encourages them.”

Yeah, but what about those little “I Voted” stickers? They’re pretty nifty. So nifty that Bob Filner put on five of them.

We’re just going to assume he didn’t vote early and often.  

Please contact Randy Dotinga directly at and follow him on Twitter:

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at

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