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San Diego City Council President Georgette Gómez officially announced this week she’s running to replace Rep. Susan Davis in Congress. She has thus officially decided to give up her Council seat, the council presidency and the chair of the Metropolitan Transit System.
The Council has five elections in 2020 and all five are open seats with no incumbent running.
Now the race begins to replace Gómez in all these positions.
Gómez’s Council seat is likely to get a lot of attention. It’s another safe Democratic district and home to a number of ambitious activists and political professionals who could stage a bid. On Monday, San Diego Community College Board of Trustee Sean Elo threw his hat in the race.
But just as interesting will be the jockeying among the other Council members for Council president. Come December 2020 when they need to make that decision, there won’t be many elected leaders who will have been there very long. Republican Councilman Chris Cate will be there, as will Councilwomen Monica Montgomery, Vivian Moreno and Jen Campbell, who will be finishing their second years in City Hall. All others will be new.
All expectations are that Democrats will maintain or extend their 6-3 Council advantage next year. Cate won’t get it. It’s likewise hard to imagine someone taking the chair just after being elected. That leaves Montgomery, Moreno and Campbell to see who can cobble together five votes from their colleagues.
Gómez will also surrender her position on MTS and the San Diego Association of Governments. Gómez is chair of MTS now, and can continue in that role as she runs for Congress. It’s likely, though not assured, that she would have stepped away from that role at the start of 2021 regardless. She had become the driving figure behind a 2020 ballot measure for a sales tax to expand transit.
It’s fair to wonder whether she’ll still be able to continue now that she has her own campaign to worry about.
And Gómez is one of the most powerful people at SANDAG, wielding half of the city’s ballyhooed weighted vote, which gives it greater say in regional decision-making than other cities. Whoever takes over for her as Council President will get that responsibility as well.