The Republican Party of San Diego County tries to enlist new members outside Golden Hall on Dec. 19, 2018. / Photo by Jesse Marx

This post originally appeared in the June 20 Politics Report. Get the Politics Report delivered to your inbox.

Republicans no longer have a registration advantage in any City Council district in San Diego.

The region’s trend away from Republicans isn’t new, with independents surpassing Republicans as the second largest group of voters in the county nearly two years ago.

But Republicans have held an advantage over Democrats in the city’s District 5, covering the suburban northeast part of San Diego, as recently as last summer.

As residents registered to vote or updated their registration leading up to California’s March primary, though, that changed. Democrats are now the largest group of voters, even in the city’s most conservative district.

Democrats now represent 35.1 percent of all District 5 voters, after the party gained nearly 5,000 new members in the district since last summer. That growth came as the number of independents in the district declined, and the number of Republicans was largely unchanged, decreasing by about 400.



The latter half of the Trump presidency hasn’t been kind to Republicans in the district. They still held a registration advantage over Democrats – 33 percent to 30.5 percent – a month before the midterm election. That nearly 3-point edge has become a nearly 5-point deficit since then.

It was in April 2019 that Councilman Mark Kersey left the Republican Party and became an independent. He won the district after running unopposed in 2012, when it was held by Republican Carl DeMaio, who was running for mayor.

November features the first competitive race there in recent history. Joe Levanthal, a Republican and former ethics commissioner, and Marni von Wilpert, a Democrat and deputy city attorney, advanced through the March primary.

Andrew Keatts

I'm Andrew Keatts, a managing editor for projects and investigations at Voice of San Diego. Please contact me if you'd like at

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