Councilwoman Jen Campbell / Photo by Megan Wood

Councilwoman Jen Campbell has easily advanced to a November runoff in her re-election bid, where she’ll now face Republican Linda Lukacs to continue representing District 2, which covers most of the city’s coastal area.

Lukacs, a dentist, did not have a high profile coming into the race and barely had a campaign, raising just over $12,000 throughout the race. A swell of spending came in on her behalf, though, after ballots were mailed to voters.

That spending, though, came from a political action committee funded by Campbell supporters who sought to knock former Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña, a Democrat, out of the race because they saw her as a bigger threat to Campbell’s re-election in November.

As of Thursday afternoon’s update, Campbell was winning 30.4 percent of the vote, while Lukacs had 25.3 percent. Saldaña, and Democrat Joel Day, took 18.3 percent and 13.3 percent of the vote, respectively.

That means nearly 75 percent of voters marked their ballot for Democrats, underscoring Campbell supporters’ desire to set up a one-on-one race against Lukacs, in a district where Democrats outnumber Republicans nearly two-to-one.

Regardless, the primary results paint a harsh picture of the district’s satisfaction with the city’s direction.

Of the 10 Council incumbents who face contested re-election campaigns over the last decade, none received as low a share of the primary vote as Campbell.

That streak includes former Councilwoman Lorie Zapf, who took 42.85 percent of the primary vote in 2018. Campbell defeated Zapf in November of that year, the first time a Council incumbent lost re-election since 1992. The only other incumbent to receive below 40 percent of the vote during a primary was former Councilwoman Myrtle Cole, with 38.85 percent. She also lost in the 2018 general.

Our Lisa Halverstadt talked to voters in D2 on the morning of Election Day to hear what was on their mind when they filled out their ballots. They had different ideas about whether the district or city were headed in the right direction, but homelessness stood out as a major concern in the coastal district.

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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  1. The last incumbent to receive less support than Jen Campbell was George Kerrigan in 1961 with 29.46% of the vote.

  2. Dan Smiechowski is on track to have received 1500 votes despite no money! Joel Day spent over $150,000 some of his own money and has received just over 4000 votes. I feel sorry for the kid! As for Lukacski, everyone in San Diego knows she would be pulling teeth if not for local elites, power brokers, special folks who rescued her like a homeless waif. Very very sad and immoral San Diego. I am ashamed to be an American.

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