Ammar Campa-Najjar / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

This post originally appeared in the Feb. 5 Politics Report. Subscribe here.

Ammar Campa Najjar did not get the Democratic Party endorsement for the race for mayor in Chula Vista. There are some hard feelings lingering from how his second congressional run in East County ended with him trying to stake out some conservative positions to see if he couldn’t beat Rep. Darrell Issa. And some were uncertain about his connection to Chula Vista after having spent four years trying to represent East County in Congress.

He’ll talk to you as long as you want about his roots in Chula Vista, though. He went to Eastlake High and has moved back to the family home he lived in when he went there.

He doesn’t have a campaign website up at the moment but said it’s still early. Chula Vista has had a lot of drama lately and another special election (to replace former Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez) is coming up before the primary.

“We’re just doing the work of building the campaign that will see us through to November and meeting with stakeholders,” Campa-Najjar said.

He is brushing off the snub from the Democratic Party.

“I didn’t run to win my party’s endorsement but to win support of voters on the ground,” he said, noting that he expects to have significant support from labor unions, as he has a few endorsements now, like from the United Domestic Workers. “They know I’ll have their back in this race.”

Secretary of State Shirley Weber has endorsed him as well.

He has a bit more money on hand than Zaneta Encarnacion, who moved to Chula Vista from San Ysidro in 2004. She’s the chief of staff to Southwestern College President Mark Sanchez.

And she is stoked about her donations so far: more than 400 donors almost all from San Diego.

“You just never know if your experience as a community leader is going to translate over, if those relationships will transition over and lead to financial support and I’m just so grateful and pleased that they have,” she told the Politics Report.

Encarnacion got the Democratic Party endorsement.

“The public has a real expectation that no matter what the crisis is — whether it’s COVID or trash collection — they expect leaders to represent them. They want to be able to see and hear themselves when their leaders speak,” she said.

City Councilman John McCann and Councilwoman Jill Galvez are also running for the seat. We weren’t able to reach them for comment. McCann has collected a bit less in recent contributions but has more money on hand than either Campa-Najjar and Encarnacion, even with the $5,000 loan he gave his campaign.

Here is the money graph:

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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