When we talk about how truly lame San Diego’s election season has turned out to be, we tend to talk about the races that aren’t happening: The race for mayor is over. Ray Ellis dropped out of the City Council District 1 race, clearing the way for Democrat Barbara Bry. What were supposed to be exciting intraparty races for state Senate and county supervisor fizzled out before they even started.
Yet many of the races that are happening – especially the state legislative races – are just as uneventful.
Most of San Diego’s legislative delegation is on track to stroll to re-election or to new seats.
Unlike races in the city of San Diego, races for seats in the state Senate or Assembly automatically go to a November runoff, even if one of the candidates in the June primary won a huge percentage of the vote share. And all of San Diego’s incumbent state legislators did.
With no challengers in the June primary, Assemblyman Rocky Chavez raked in 96 percent of the vote. Another Republican, businessman Thomas Krouse, has made the fall ballot by getting 376 votes as a write-in candidate. In 2014, Krouse also advanced through the primary as a write-in candidate with only 28 votes. That fall, he got 33 percent of the vote in his loss to Chavez.
Democratic Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez beat her Republican challenger by more than 50 points in the primary. Five-zero.
With no marquee showdown against fellow Democrat Sen. Marty Block, Assemblywoman Toni Atkins won the primary for Senate District 39 with 66 percent of the vote.
Assemblywoman Shirley Weber and City Councilman Todd Gloria, who’s running for Assembly District 78, beat their primary opponents by more modest numbers – the two Democrats won by only 35 and 40 points, respectively.
Of course, candidates and their campaigns won’t ever say they are resting of their laurels. They don’t want to take anything for granted to, at very least, appear to be taking anything for granted. It’s a democracy, after all.
“Truthfully though, we still have an opponent and, so, Todd is still working extra hard every day to earn the support of AD-78 residents,” Gloria’s campaign manager, Nick Serrano, said in an email. “We are focused on reaching those areas outside of the city of San Diego (like Del Mar, Solana Beach, Imperial Beach and Coronado) that aren’t necessarily as familiar with Todd’s leadership and proving that he is who we want to send to Sacramento.”
Gloria is facing Republican Kevin Melton, who talked about his underdog candidacy with us back in April.
Atkins’ Senate campaign also said she is working hard. But it didn’t want to give out such details as where they might want to shore up support for her race against Republican John Renison, who received about 44,000 voters compared with Atkins’ 160,000 in the primary.
“We do not wish to share our campaign plans with our opponent,” Atkins’ campaign consultant, Steve Barkan, said in an email. “This is like any other election cycle. She takes nothing for granted and is working to get elected to the Senate and helping other Democrats in San Diego get elected. The primary outcome was a result of the work that she’s done in the community and continues to do.”
The two most competitive state legislative races – and that word is relative here – appear to be in the eastern and northern parts of the county.
Republican Assemblyman Brian Maienschein only won by 15 points over Democrat Melinda Vasquez and Republican Assemblywoman Marie Waldron only bested her Democratic challenger, Andrew Masiel, by a measly 20 points.
Ry Rivard contributed to this report.
Homeless Ballot Measures Everywhere But SD
Officials all over California are scrambling to address homelessness. Many places across the state are using the November ballot to do it: The cities of L.A. and San Francisco, and three Bay Area counties all have measures facing voters that would raise new revenue to pay for housing efforts, Lisa Halverstadt reports.
San Diego, which has the second-highest homeless population in the state, isn’t taking that route:
“No group has rallied behind an effort here and even advocates who’d likely join one admit they haven’t established the metrics they’d need to pursue a ballot measure. Then there’s the fact that key San Diego leaders aren’t convinced a ballot initiative would be the right move, or are skeptical of tax increases for affordable housing in the first place.”
How SD Legislators Fared This Week: 4 Bills, 2 Vetoes
Gov. Jerry Brown is still making his way through that mountain of bills passed by the Legislature – he has until the end of the month to sign or veto any bills.
This week, he gave his OK to two bills from San Diego legislators, and vetoed another.
Thumbs-up from Brown to:
• AB 1500 from Assemblywoman Toni Atkins, which relinquishes parts of State Route 75 from state control and hands it to San Diego and Imperial Beach. In a statement, Atkins said the bill is “particularly important for the city of Imperial Beach, which for years has been working on a revitalization plan for Palm Avenue, a key commercial hub.”
• AB 2568 by Atkins allows San Diego County to operate an integrated and comprehensive health and human services system – giving the county more flexibility to budget for things like behavioral health services and protective services.
• AB 2025 from Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez strengthens workplace protections for nail salon workers.
Gonzalez told me last year that she got interested in writing bills to protect nail technicians after reading this New York Times investigation.
• SB 984 from Sen. Ben Hueso extends a pilot program that helps facilitate small-dollar loans.
Thumps-down from Brown to:
• AB 1739 from Assemblywoman Marie Waldron, which would have allowed Medi-Cal patients to receive allergy tests from their primary care doctors, instead of having to be referred to a specialist.
In a veto message, Brown wrote that “The Department of Health Care Services already has authority to set allergy testing standards and will be updating them later this year. When it does so, the department should not be limited, as this bill requires, to considering just the guidelines from the National Institutes of Health.”
• AB 1782 by Assemblyman Brian Maienschein would have let franchisors exhibit at trade shows without registering first with the Department of Business Oversight. Brown called the bill “a step in the wrong direction.”
• Brown has not yet signed a bill that would rein in civil asset forfeiture – the practice that lets law enforcement take money and other valuables from people even if they haven’t committed a crime – but Sen. Joel Anderson thinks he should. (Union-Tribune)
Golden State News
• Dan Walters reports on some last-minute legislative sneakiness that he thinks makes the case for the reforms offered in Prop. 54. (Sac Bee)
• Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who has already weighed in on Prop. 57, this week announced he supports Prop. 51, a statewide school bond measure.
• This is a great series investigating and explaining the state’s pension crisis. (CalMatters/L.A. Times/Capital Public Radio)
• It looks like the state’s new equal-pay laws are working. (L.A. Times)