Amy Reichert and San Diego City Councilmember Monica Montgomery Steppe debating during Politifest 2023.
Amy Reichert and San Diego City Councilmember Monica Montgomery Steppe debating during Politifest 2023. / Vito Di Stefano for Voice of San Diego

When San Diego County Board of Supervisors candidates Monica Montgomery Steppe and Amy Reichert met at Saturday’s Politifest debate, one of the spiciest exchanges had nothing to do with policy. 

During the debate, Reichert pivoted from a question about San Diego County’s out of control jail deaths to make a personal request of San Diego Councilwoman Montgomery Steppe: don’t call me names. Reichert took offense to a Montgomery Steppe fundraising email in which she said referred to her as a “science denier and an extremist.” 

“I just want to ask you from my heart, please don’t do that,” Reichert said. “If you are going to name call, I just would like for you to point to actual examples.” 

Montgomery Steppe replied, “I actually don’t think anything about that is not true,” referring to the science denier and extremist labels. Reichert has long been a vocal opponent of Covid-19 measures. She also founded the group ReOpen San Diego, which Montgomery Steppe characterized at the debate as “antivax.” 

“Anti-mandate,” Reichert interjected.  

Montgomery Steppe continued, claiming Reichert had been seen with conservative figures like Tucker Carlson, Ted Cruz and Marjorie Taylor Greene.  

“There might be people … in the room that totally and completely agree with those folks … and that is totally fine, but in my opinion, that is right wing extremism,” Montgomery Steppe said. 

Montgomery Steppe went on to describe the attacks levied against her in the primary, like claims she has denied that she’d worked to defund the San Diego Police Department. But those attacks are all part of running for office, she said. 

“I’m asking for an apology,” Reichert said, but the moment had passed, and moderator and NBC 7 reporter Priya Sridhar moved the pair along to the next question.  

Jakob McWhinney is Voice of San Diego's education reporter. He can be reached by email at and followed on Twitter @jakobmcwhinney. Subscribe...

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  1. I was a Democrat for 50 years and quit. It’s a war mongering corrupt party of political private club members and words. I was even elected to the SDCDCC. I saw the immorality and breach of ethics firsthand. Some will deny truth except that does not alter truth. Dan Smiechowski is a candidate for San Diego Mayor.

  2. Montgomery voted to permit homeless people to camp on sidewalks and doesn’t believe they should be prosecuted for quality of life crimes. She is wrong for San Diego and only has her current job because nobody votes anymore.

  3. Montgomery voted to allow homeless to set up tents and structures on sidewalks. Montgomery fights to prevent the police from arresting homeless for quality of life crimes like exposing themselves to children, doing drugs in front of children, and exposing your family to tuberculosis.

  4. Monica Steppe handled that silly request in the most professional and informed way, possible. She the more intelligent candidate, by far.

  5. America as far as I know, has never elected a peacemaker. Yet America has more churches per capita than any nation on earth. These facts are illogical and dangerous. There exist more Islamic residents in the district of Sean Elo Rivera than anywhere in San Diego. Unlike Germany’s unprovoked invasion and decimation of Poland beginning on 09 01 1939, there are not two sides within the current Israeli war. Sacred covenants of the hallowed Geneva Convention have been discarded as trash by both sides. Mr. Rivera was seen in La Jolla along with political hoocer Gloria at the JCC standing in solidarity with Israel. My name is Dan Smiechowski, and I am a candidate for San Diego Mayor, a lifetime member of the JCC, lived in Jewish communities on two continents, family in WWII helped free the Jews.

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