Workers for the San Diego County Registrar of Voters submit ballots from drivers at a drop-off location in March 2020. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

We are nine days away from the county’s special election.

Remember: This is the race to fill the seat former County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher vacated. Some might have voted by mail already, but the voting ends on Aug. 15. Click here for more voting deets.

Over the last couple weeks, we’ve seen a big push from all the candidates. It’s a difficult race, no doubt, because it’s happening in an off-year and the only people voting are those who live in the county’s fourth district.

But the big BIG push is coming this week as candidates ratchet up their efforts to get past the special primary.

I’ve rounded up some stories from our reporters, and other outlets, to guide you through the days ahead. If you don’t live in the district, don’t worry, I got some good weekend reads for you down below. Grab your cafecito and let’s dig into the chisme.

What You Need to Know About the Race

Meet the peeps: If you haven’t made up your mind, or want to familiarize yourself with the candidates, the Union-Tribune published lengthy interviews with the people running. You can read those here.

But for those who like brevity:

  • Janessa Goldbeck, a Democrat, has had her sights on this seat for a while now. She is the CEO of Vet Voice Foundation, a nonprofit. She announced her candidacy in February — before Fletcher’s scandal broke (Click here for a refresh). She has racked up some endorsements from heavy hitters (think senators and congressional members).
  • Paul McQuigg, a Republican, is a retired U.S. Marine and public speaker for disabled veterans. He previously served as a police and fire commissioner for the city of Oceanside.
  • Monica Montgomery Steppe, a Democrat, currently sits on the San Diego City Council. She represents the city’s fourth district, which includes the neighborhoods of Lincoln Park, Encanto, Greater Skyline Hill and other neighborhoods in southeastern San Diego. Montgomery Steppe has received a ton of endorsements from unions.
  • Amy Reichert, a Republican, unsuccessfully ran against Fletcher last year. She is a founder of ReOpen San Diego, a nonprofit that organized in opposition of Covid-19 closures and more. According to the U-T, she is a licensed private investigator.

Show me the money: inewsource analyzed campaign finance data and found how much money outside interest groups have spent on mailers, advertisements and more. Dig into the spending here.

Speaking of mailers, on the VOSD Podcast, we explained why mailers are so interesting. This is a good episode of you want to get into the wonky stuff. Listen here.

Fact check from me: We’ve been getting a lot of calls about a mailer from the San Diego Police Officers Association. It had a lot of messages, but I focused on this one:

“Supported defunding the police department. Despite a historic police staffing crisis, City Councilmember Monica Montgomery Steppe sought to slash the city’s police budget.”

It credited our reporting, and I felt it was important to provide context, and to lay out the facts about what she said and did. You can read my story here.

For the Politics Report, Voice of San Diego’s Scott Lewis also gets into independent spending and a text message with no disclosure. Plus, he unpacks some of the reactions to my story. Read his Politics Report here.

More Chisme to Start Your Week

Mercedes Ortega (left) moves some of her belongings from Commercial and 15th Street to another location in the outskirts of downtown on July 31, 2023.
  • Voice’s multimedia journalist Ariana Drehsler was out at the beginning of the week as police began enforcing the city of San Diego’s camping ban. Seen above is Mercedes Ortega (left) moving some of her belongings from Commercial and 15th streets to another location in the outskirts of downtown on Monday.
  • And Lisa Halverstadt has the latest on the camping ban. She explains how police focused on enforcing the new law in Balboa Park this week and how people are responding. Read more here.
  • Halverstadt also had a big story this week about the city’s largest and most prominent shelter provider. She revealed that the city’s housing agency has demanded that Father Joe’s Villages address issues related to client complaints and more. Read her investigation here.
  • Reporters MacKenzie Elmer and Jakob McWhinney teamed up on a story about San Diego Unified’s promises for net zero carbon emissions. Turns out the district only plans to eliminate around 28,400 tons of greenhouse gas emissions, because it’s ignoring the emissions that come from cars. Read their story here.
  • McWhinney also followed up with a bit of history on the school bus for his bi-weekly newsletter. He explains why SDUSD’s fleet has mostly disappeared, and why they plan to bring some buses back. Read the Learning Curve here.

Andrea Lopez-Villafaña, Managing Editor, Daily News Andrea oversees the production of daily news stories for Voice of San Diego. She welcomes conversations...

Join the Conversation


  1. I’ve been getting unsolicited texts from candidates in the August 15 Special Election. Does the Registrar give out phone number as well as addresses of registered voters to candidates?

  2. re: More Chisme to Start Your Week.
    if there are links to previously published stories, is it still chisme?

    1. I’ve been getting multiple texts, a mailbox full of flyers and I’m absolutely disgusted by the waste of money on this. The candidates and their supporters should be ashamed of themselves.

Leave a comment
We expect all commenters to be constructive and civil. We reserve the right to delete comments without explanation. You are welcome to flag comments to us. You are welcome to submit an opinion piece for our editors to review.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.