This post has been updated to include new developments in the 52nd District race.

San Diegans hit the polls Tuesday for a fairly snooze-worthy election, with two major exceptions.

The race for City Council’s District 6 holds significant weight for the partisan make-up of the dais, and Carl DeMaio’s, uh, spirited campaign to unseat Rep. Scott Peters’ in the 52nd Congressional District has captivated media and voters for months.

We’ve been keeping an eye on those contests and more. If you’re pressed for time, here are a few things to keep in mind Tuesday.

52nd District Congressional Race

First-term incumbent Rep. Scott Peters is defending his seat against former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio. The 52nd District encompasses much of the the northern part of the city of San Diego, as well as Coronado and Poway.

• Hoo boy, where do we start with this one? The race blew up a few weeks ago when a former DeMaio staffer alleged the candidate had repeatedly sexually harassed him. We took a look at why this was nothing like the Bob Filner debacle, a timeline of the bizarre claims and “explanations” in the days after the allegations exploded. Two former DeMaio staffers told us they no longer support him because of the way they were treated — but no one we talked to said they saw any harassment take place. Nearly a month before shit hit the fan, Scott Lewis dug into the apparent rift between DeMaio and the team behind his 2012 mayoral bid.

• A crazy final month of the campaign took another yet major twist late Sunday when a second former DeMaio campaign worker accused the Republican of sexual harassment. The campaign worker, a 25-year-old intern named Justin Harper, said DeMaio exposed himself in a campaign headquarters bathroom in July. Harper said he didn’t exchange words with DeMaio, but quit two days later. DeMaio denies these new allegations as well.

• To “cut through the clutter” in the midst of the scandal, the U-T asked Peters and DeMaio for their takes on everything from ISIS to universal preschool. Here’s how the candidates said they’d handle the Central American migrant crisis back in July.

• Check out our earlier reader’s guides on both candidates to find out Peters’ biggest baggage and where DeMaio made his money. We also cleared up some misconceptions circulated by national media.

• Equal pay and over-the-counter birth control and other women’s issues have loomed large in this race. Peters and DeMaio’s stances aren’t as different as you might think. We dinged Peters with a Misleading in a Fact Check of his TV ad claim about DeMaio’s equal pay platform.

• Peters also got a False for his attempts to paint DeMaio as a Koch-backed extremist.

• We sat down with Peters in August to get his read on his opponent.

• Peters didn’t solve San Diego’s pension crisis. Nor did he cause it.

• DeMaio got a Misleading on his characterization of teacher evaluations in San Diego.

Statewide Ballot Measures

Our Sacramento correspondent Brian Joseph laid out the details on all the statewide measures you’ll find on your ballot. To recap:

Prop. 1 authorizes the state to sell $7.1 billion in bonds and redirect $425 in previously unsold bonds to pay for water infrastructure projects that would, for example, protect your drinking water.

Prop. 2 creates new rules for the state’s budget reserves, requiring 1.5 percent of state revenues to go toward a “budget stabilization account,” half of which would be used to repay debts. When that pot of money reaches its cap – 10 percent of general fund revenues – the remainder would go toward infrastructure projects.

Prop. 45 authorizes the state insurance commissioner to approve changes to health insurance rates before they take effect. Currently, state regulators review the changes, but don’t get to approve them.

Prop. 46 requires hospitals to administer drug and alcohol tests on doctors, requires doctors to consult a database before prescribing to a new patient and raises medical malpractice damages for pain and suffering from $250,000 to $1.1 million.

Prop. 47 reduces penalties for non-serious, non-violent drug and property crimes. It directs the cost savings from those reductions to deal with school truancy and dropout rates. Former SDPD Chief William Lansdowne co-wrote the proposition.

Prop. 48 allows the North Folk Rancheria of Mono Indians to build and operate a new, off-reservation casino in Madera County.

City Council District 6

As KPBS pointed out, plenty hangs in the balance in the race for City Council’s District 6 seat – namely, Democrats’ Council majority and Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s veto power. Republican Chris Cate, vice president of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association, and Democrat Carol Kim, who comes from an education background, are battling to represent Clairemont, Mira Mesa, Kearny Mesa and part of Rancho Peñasquitos.

• Tensions between Cate and Kim boiled over a few weeks ago over a property tax snag when Kim accused Cate of either tax fraud or election fraud after a clerical error on the county’s part. The U-T editorial board chalked it up to the “silly season of politics.” Things have cooled a bit since then.

• Cate joined us on the podcast earlier this month to lay out where he stands on the city’s Climate Action Plan (digs it), the minimum wage hike (didn’t dig it), how to fund major infrastructure repairs (wants a clear list of projects) and a potential new Chargers stadium (don’t touch the general fund). Skip to 22:44 to hear his interview.

• We chatted with Kim the following week to get her takes on the same four issues – she’s open to an infrastructure bond, not OK with using general fund dollars for a Chargers stadium, supports the minimum wage hike and Faulconer’s Climate Action Plan. Jump to 24:15 for her input.

• KPBS laid out where the candidates align on hot-button issues, and highlighted the clear difference in experiences they bring to the table.

San Diego Unified District School Board

Who thought the race for one of San Diego Unified’s board seats would become one of the most compelling this round? Kevin Beiser, a Sweetwater math teacher and current SDUSD board president, is defending his seat against Amy Redding, a parent and scientist. Both are vying to represent subdistrict B.

• At a belated debate, Redding pounced on some recent stats showing the district is nowhere near on track for its graduation goals. Neither candidate came out looking like a champ.

• Beiser might have the advantage of incumbency. But that hasn’t stopped him from going full-throttle in campaign mode – perhaps at the expense of his students. After looking at the numbers, we found Beiser missed, on average, four weeks of school per year for the last five years.

• Redding joined us on the podcast to share why she got involved in the race – skip to 9:45 to hear her interview. Beiser brushed off multiple invitations.

Sweetwater Union High School District Board

After a pay-to-play scandal among board members, administrators and contractors, Sweetwater Union High School District desperately needs a fresh start. More than 20 candidates are running for the five open seats. Check out this handy map of the district.

• The district and its communities have been busy. We took a look at the three big reforms rolled out to make sure nothing like the scandal happens again, and heard from two people at the heart of those makeover efforts. Got two minutes? Then watch this San Diego Explained segment that lays out the major changes to the district’s election process.

• Who are these people gunning to lead the district’s new era? VOSD’s Bianca Bruno got input from all the candidates on what transparency means to them and the district’s biggest problems. Read a sampling here and their full answers here.


The most important thing, really, is to vote at all. Every election cycle, we see a swarm of low-turnout horror stories before and after. If you’re registered to vote and haven’t already sent in a mail ballot (Note: You can drop it off at a few locations around the community), find your polling place here and hit it Tuesday between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.



Catherine Green was formerly the deputy editor at Voice of San Diego. She handled daily operations while helping to plan new long-term projects.

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