It’s a rote saying in citywide elections: The path to victory goes through the roads of San Diego’s midsection in Clairemont.

It will be especially true in November’s mayoral runoff between Republican City Councilman Carl DeMaio and Democratic Congressman Bob Filner, according to an analysis of primary election data by the National University System Institute for Policy Research, a local think tank.

“That neighborhood specifically is a great barometer for what San Diego is feeling,” said Vince Vasquez, an analyst with the think tank.

Voters in the greater Clairemont area divide their registration neatly between Democrats, Republicans and independents. They didn’t lean heavily toward any of the four major candidates in the primary election earlier this month. And as turnout is expected to spike in November compared to June, they have characteristics campaigns drool over.

Clairemont residents tend to be high propensity voters, older and homeowners, Vasquez said. Similarly, the neighborhood layout of easy-to-walk, single-family homes makes it a target for door-to-door campaigning.

“Retail politics is very viable there,” Vasquez said.

Primary election data shows that DeMaio took almost all precincts north of Interstate 8 and Filner captured almost all south of I-8, which is San Diego’s most reliable divide. Clairemont sits north of I-8 and is delineated by State Route 52, Interstate 805 and Interstate 5.

So as both candidates attempt to move to the middle on issues, watch them target the city’s geographic middle, too.


We’ve written about Clairemont’s centrality to elections before. In 2010’s San Diego County Supervisor race between eventual winner Ron Roberts and Stephen Whitburn, Clairemont was a major battleground. From that piece:

“To me, it’s a straight numbers issue,” said Jennifer Tierney, a Whitburn campaign strategist. “It’s where people vote and you can concentrate your efforts. You can go to Clairemont Mesa and talk to voters in a short time without a lot of walking around.”


U-T San Diego did a good analysis of primary data over the weekend, too. It found:

• Filner received the most votes of any candidate in all but two of the 75 precincts with a majority Latino population. DeMaio won the other two.

• DeMaio captured all but 13 of the 112 precincts with a majority 50-and-over population, with Filner winning in eight and (Assemblyman Nathan) Fletcher snagging five.

• Fletcher topped 40 percent in four precincts in the following neighborhoods: La Jolla, Montezuma, Rancho Peñasquitos and Normal Heights — opportunity areas for DeMaio and Filner in the fall. The best performance for (District Attorney Bonnie) Dumanis was 27 percent in a Tierrasanta precinct, another opportunity area.

• DeMaio’s best performance was topping 55 percent in five precincts, four of which were in Rancho Bernardo. The other was in Pomerado.

• Filner’s strongest support was five precincts in which he topped 72 percent — located in the Encanto and Chollas Park neighborhoods.

The U-T also has interactive maps where you can check out how your neighborhood voted.

Liam Dillon is a news reporter for Voice of San Diego. He covers San Diego City Hall, the 2012 mayor’s race and big building projects. What should he write about next?

Please contact him directly at or 619.550.5663.

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Liam Dillon

Liam Dillon was formerly a senior reporter and assistant editor for Voice of San Diego. He led VOSD’s investigations and wrote about how regular people...

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