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Workers for the San Diego County Registrar of Voters at a drop-off location submit ballots from drivers. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

In California, we like to do Election Day for several weeks. So while you thought it was over, it looks like we will have to wait for certainty on some of the biggest decisions voters faced in San Diego County Tuesday.

We don’t know yet whether two Democrats will compete in the San Diego mayor’s race. There will, however, be a fierce Dem-on-Dem battle for the 53rd Congressional District seat being vacated by retiring Rep. Susan Davis.

Sara Jacobs and Georgette Gómez have many of the same positions on national policy. But Andrew Keatts explored how their starkly different backgrounds could draw national attention to the race.

The Biggest Unknowns

Councilwoman Barbara Bry and Councilman Scott Sherman on Election Night. / Photos by Megan Wood

The mayor’s race: Assemblyman Todd Gloria secured a spot in the November runoff but it’s still not clear who will join him. Councilman Scott Sherman held a lead of 1.5 percentage points over Councilwoman Barbara Bry for that second spot as of early Wednesday morning. Unlike other races, his lead seemed to be steady and not diminishing but it’s tight.

In another story, Keatts reviewed what the next stage in the race could mean for city politics.

Measure A: The proposal to require a countywide vote for general plan amendments had one of the thinnest margins of the night. The “no” vote has a slight lead.

District 1, County Board of Supervisors: State Sen. Ben Hueso had a solid lead in the race for the D1 seat on the County Board of Supervisors. The race for the second spot in the runoff was tight, with Port Commissioner Rafael Castellanos holding a slight lead over former Planned Parenthood executive Nora Vargas.

District 1, San Diego City Council: In the district that includes La Jolla and Carmel Valley, Joe LaCava secured a spot in the runoff but firefighter Aaron Brennan and lawyer Will Moore were in a tight race for the other spot. As of early Wednesday, Brennan was 122 votes ahead – less than 1 percentage point.

District 3, San Diego City Council: In the urban core of the city of San Diego, Stephen Whitburn will make the runoff and it looks like Toni Duran will go with him but Chris Olsen will want to watch the vote count. He was very close to catching Duran.

50th Congressional District: Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar secured the most votes; But the race for the second spot seems to be tightening. Darrell Issa was leading Carl DeMaio by 3.7 percentage points early Wednesday morning.

Supervisor Kristin Gaspar attends an Election Night event hosted by the Republican Party of San Diego County. / Photo by Megan Wood

Here’s what else we know about the races we’ve been watching:

  • Republicans Joel Anderson and Steve Vaus appear poised to advance to the runoff in the District 2 race for the County Board of Supervisors.
  • Supervisor Kristin Gaspar had a good night in her bid to hold on to her D3 seat on the Board of Supervisors. Democrat Terra Lawson-Remer had a solid lead over Escondido City Councilwoman Olga Diaz for the second spot in the runoff.
  • Measure B, the proposed Newland Sierra development, was losing by a solid margin.
  • Measure C, a hotel-tax measure aimed at funding a Convention Center expansion, homeless services and road repairs, was falling short of the required two-thirds threshold with 63 percent of the vote just after midnight.
  • Lemon Grove is in trouble: Voters decisively rejected a sales tax increase city leaders said was vital for keeping the city an independent municipality (and to keep it from dipping dangerously into reserves).

Disastrous Night for School Construction Bonds

Voters seem to have turned against school construction bonds. They rejected borrowings – and related tax hikes – put forward by school districts in Chula Vista, Lakeside and Escondido. They also thwarted Poway Unified School District’s return to the bond market even after the district made desperate pleas to voters to pass the bond. The statewide school construction bond Proposition 13 also went down in defeat.

Measure L, the Cajon Valley School District bond that would raise property taxes by $26 per $100,000 of property owned also lost.

Voters approved two bonds for San Ysidro schools.

What the Voters Told Us

VOSD reporters fanned out across the county on Tuesday to speak with voters about what motivated them to head to the polls.

In the South Bay, residents told Maya Srikrishnan they were motivated by the possibility of ousting President Donald Trump. And many of them seemed very, very confused about what Measure A would actually do.

In central San Diego neighborhoods like North Park and Linda Vista, voters who spoke to Lisa Halverstadt were split on Measure C.

Over in the College Area, several voters told Bella Ross they were backing Barbara Bry for mayor because of her positions on short-term rentals and AB 5.

Voters who live near the Merriam Mountains, the site of the development proposal that appeared on the ballot as Measure B, overwhelmingly said they were opposed to the project.

Our Election Night Podcast Is Up

Councilwoman Georgette Gomez talks to reporters at Golden Hall on Election Night. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

We recorded a special episode of the podcast to go over the results. Scott, Sara and Andy went through their draft picks of the contests to watch and analyzed a few other things that stood out. It’s in your podcast feed or you can listen here.

Ash Street Project Under New Management

In a memo to the San Diego City Council, the top city manager announced new oversight of the troubled 101 Ash St. project, which has been set back by asbestos-related problems that arose during the course of a remodel. The county declared it a public nuisance in January and the city voluntarily evacuated its workers.

Why the project went haywire is still a topic of debate. Multiple inquiries are being conducted by a City Council committee and an outside consultant.

In the meantime, the city is shuffling staff and creating a new Risk Oversight Committee. Chief Operating Officer Kris Michell said the move is not directly tied to the Ash Street debacle but will certainly benefit the project.

DA Task Force Charges First Teacher

A former El Centro high school teacher was arraigned on two felony and three misdemeanor charges by the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office Tuesday for providing students marijuana and alcohol on a school camping trip, prosecutors said. The case against former Southwest High School teacher Monique Garcia, 50, is the first reported to the DA’s Student Safety in School Systems Task Force to result in charges. The task force was formed in November last year to help address some of the systemic shortcomings revealed by Voice of San Diego as part of its years-long investigation of misconduct by school employees. A total of 12 complaints have been submitted to the DA’s online portal so far, according to officials.

The district superintendent said Garcia no longer works for the district. Garcia pleaded not guilty.

In Other News

Former Rep. Duncan Hunter is arguing in court papers – again – that the case against him should be tossed because two of the prosecutors in the case once attended a Hillary Clinton fundraiser.

A local company working on a coronavirus vaccine told KPBS it hopes to begin human testing in five months.

San Diego Magazine made some predictions for new housing trends for the coming decades.

The Morning Report was written by Sara Libby and Scott Lewis.

Scott Lewis

Scott Lewis oversees Voice of San Diego’s operations, website and daily functions as Editor in Chief. He also writes about local politics, where he frequently...

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