The presidential election is driving North County voters to the polls for this primary election.

Gary Dyer, a 59-year-old real estate investor who lives in Solana Beach, was so intrigued by this year’s presidential election that he spent 10 minutes trying to figure out who I voted for.

“Well you clearly have an immigrant background,” Dyer said. “So that might make Trump worry you.”  (For anyone who hasn’t figured out from my picture and/or last name, my parents are from India).

But, he continued, many Indian immigrants do well for themselves and would appreciate that Trump is a businessman.

Then there’s the fact that I’m a woman, and so is Hillary Clinton, he observed.

I never told Dyer how I cast my vote, and I won’t tell you either.

But Dyer told me he voted for Donald Trump.

Dyer’s intrigue didn’t extend to a hot local election in his district, the race for county supervisor District 3. He said he voted for Encinitas mayor Kristin Gaspar, who is running against Escondido Mayor Sam Abed and incumbent Supervisor Dave Roberts, who previously served as mayor of Solana Beach.

The district they’re running to represent runs along the coast from Torrey Pines State Beach up to Encinitas and to the east from Mira Mesa to Escondido.

Dyer said he owns land in Encinitas and has been to Encinitas City Council meetings with Gaspar.

“I like the way she handles things,” he said.

Vanessa Rheuby, a 40-year-old case manager at a drug and alcohol rehab program and Escondido resident also said she voted for “the lady from Encinitas.”

She said she wasn’t particularly engaged in the supervisors race, but she saw Abed’s name on the ballot and knew she didn’t want to vote for him, since he hasn’t helped out her nonprofit during his time as mayor.

Rheuby said she’s always been a registered Republican, until this year. This election, she voted for Bernie Sanders for president.

Karin Fair, a 45-year-old mom who moved to Encinitas from New Jersey a year ago, cast a vote for county supervisor though she said she’s been following national politics more. She had seen Gaspar in action at recent City Council meetings and “she left an impression.”

Photo by Maya Srikrishnan
Photo by Maya Srikrishnan

Fair wasn’t exactly sure what county supervisors do, but she spent half of our conversation picking my brain about it.

“I like to be on top of local politics, but it’s hard to figure out what the county does and what Encinitas does and how they adjoin,” she said.

Steve Barnes, a 69-year old lawyer from Solana Beach, said he voted to re-elect Roberts. He’s done a good job so far, Barnes said, and as the only Democrat in the race, his outlook on social services and welfare is more in line with Barnes’ views.

“I always vote,” Barnes said. “But what’s most important to me is the increasing gap between the haves and the have-nots.”

Barnes said he follows local and national politics, but he’s been following national issues more closely this election cycle.

There aren’t many local elections on the primary ballot in Encinitas, Solana Beach and Escondido, and even though there’s a competitive county supervisor race – a position that helps manage a more than $5 billion budget and thousands of jobs throughout the county – many of the voters I spoke with said they’re only eyeing the presidency and left the rest of their ballots blank.

Trump supporter Jessica Cuccurullo, a 45-year old paralegal in Escondido, said she always votes to set a good example for her children, but she didn’t vote for any local elections.

“The other stuff on the ballot is really confusing,” Cuccurullo said. “You can’t tell who is telling the truth.”

It was 20-year old San Diego State University student Jack Greener’s first time voting. He was excited to vote for Sanders at the Solana Beach School District office down the street from his house.

“But I honestly have no idea about local elections,” he said.

He left those blank.

Ben Powell, a 43-year-old musician living in Encinitas, said he only cast votes on races and issues he felt informed about. County supervisor wasn’t included.

“I came out for Bernie,” Powell said.

I asked 67-year-old Sandy Zimmerman, who works in the funeral business in Escondido, if she knew what a county supervisor did after she couldn’t remember who she voted for in that race.

“No, not really,” Zimmerman said.

Solana Beach resident and Clinton supporter Laura Tourin, 59, also said she didn’t cast a vote in the supervisor election because she doesn’t know what a county supervisor is.

“I just wanted to make sure Donald Trump doesn’t win,” Tourin, who works with dementia patients, said.

Mike Trethowan, an electronics technician and engineer in Escondido, cast a vote for every race and measure, but he only felt passionate about the presidential election. He voted for Sanders.

Trethowan said he doesn’t think national politics are more important than local politics, but he couldn’t remember who he voted for in the county supervisor race.

“On the local level, everybody is pretty much the same,” said Trethowan.

Maya was Voice of San Diego’s Associate Editor of Civic Education. She reported on marginalized communities in San Diego and oversees Voice’s explanatory...

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