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“I Voted” stickers at a polling station in Barrio Logan. / Photo by Sam Hodgson
“I Voted” stickers at a polling station in Barrio Logan. / Photo by Sam Hodgson

You’ve all been waiting for it. We’ve been fielding calls and emails for months begging for its return. And luckily, even though it’s just late February, the primary is upon us.

It’s the first primary to take place since California moved up the election so voters in the nation’s most populous state can have a bigger say on national matters. Y’know, like that whole presidential race happening right now.

But this podcast isn’t about that. What you’ve been waiting for is the Voice of San Diego Election Draft.

Inaugurated in November 2018, the draft is a now-sacred practice among VOSD editors and hosts Scott Lewis, Andrew Keatts and Sara Libby in which they pick their most anticipated local races ahead of election night.

We aim to maintain a ceremonial decorum as we fulfill this duty. Here are the first-round picks from each editor, in order.

The Picks

Libby: District 3 County Supervisor

Libby is reinforcing her hold on this race within the editorial roundtable. She declared months ago that this was the local race to watch as it could very well determine whether Republicans maintain control of county government. District 3 is currently held by Republican incumbent Kristin Gaspar, which spans from Escondido in the north east to the coast of San Diego County. Also running are two Democrats: Escondido City Councilwoman Olga Diaz and professor Terra Lawson-Remer.

Read more: “The Dems Vying to Take on Kristin Gaspar in D3”

Keatts: San Diego Mayor

Keatts nabbed the San Diego mayor’s race. For the primary specifically he said it’s a fascinating contest to see who will make the runoff, as many assume Assemblyman Todd Gloria will do so handily. If City Councilwoman Barbara Bry gets in, that’ll mean a Democrat will be mayor. If City Councilman Scott Sherman is number two, that changes the dynamic of the race substantially as he’s a Republican. And if activist Tasha Williamson makes the runoff, that means her lack of fundraising didn’t matter and her message about police reform managed to strike a serious chord with the electorate in an unprecedented way.

Read more: “The Standout Moments From Our Mayoral Candidate Podcast Interviews”

Lewis: 53rd Congressional District

Lewis, with the final pick in the first round, snatched the race for the 53rd. After Rep. Susan Davis announced her retirement in 2019, there was a flurry of action among local Democrats. Now, just a week before the primary, Lewis is looking forward to this race as two of the prime candidates represent very different backgrounds and identities (while both representing the Democratic party). Sitting City Council President Georgette Gómez is a Bernie Sanders-supported candidate with a background in environmental activism. Her opponent Sara Jacobs is the granddaughter of local billionaire Irwin Jacobs who ran to represent a different district in the last election.

Read more: “What Davis Hath Wrought”

Hear the rest of the picks in the full podcast below.

Quick Programming Note

Next week, we’ll be dropping our weekly show early — the morning after the election. So you’ll get our updates on these races and analysis of the results Wednesday morning.

The week after the election, we’ll host a live podcast at UC San Diego featuring guests to help us unpack what exactly happened on election night. Get your tickets for our live podcast here.

Need Some Help?

Over on our election podcast, San Diego Decides, Libby got with VOSD associate editor Jesse Marx to dig in to more detail about state and local measures. They laid out all the pertinent info on each item you’ll see on the San Diego ballot.

Also, we have released our Reader’s Guide for the San Diego primary. Read it and share it with your friends.

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Nate John

Nate John is the digital manager at Voice of San Diego. He oversees Voice's website, newsletters, podcasts and product team. You can reach him at

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