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Downtown San Diego, California. Gaslamp Dist. (Photo: Johan Erkki, Shutterstock)

Former San Diego Council Members Advance to Run-Off in Assembly Special Election

No candidate managed to reach 50% of vote or more in close South County Assembly seat race

By Evan Symon, April 6, 2022 1:29 pm

The special election to fill in the Assembly seat for the 80th district covering part of San Diego and surrounding suburbs failed to reach a plurality for a single candidate on Tuesday, forcing a run-off election later this year between former San Diego City Council members Georgette Gomez and David Alvarez.

Former SD City Councilman David Alvarez (Photo: David Alvarez official Twitter)

As of Wednesday morning, Alvarez, a Democrat who was a San Diego City Councilman between 2010 and 2018 and came in a close second in the 2014 San Diego Mayoral special election against Kevin Faulconer, sat at 13,117 votes, or 38.4% of the vote. Gomez, a Democratic San Diego City Councilwoman from between 2016 and 2020, including a stint as City Council President, remains close with 12,626 votes, or 37% of the total. The only other candidate, former Republican Party of San Diego Central Committee Member Lincoln Pickard, remains in a distant third with 8,399 votes, or around 24.6% of the vote.

While Alvarez and Gomes are expected to remain close in the race as votes finalize, neither is projected to come out with the majority of votes needed to outright win the race with a majority of votes and not necessitate a run off in June. Projections also show that Pickard will not be able to catch up with the candidate in second place, pushing him out of the running for the seat.

Both projected run-off winners noted thanks on Tuesday night to supporters, as well as already getting ready for the run-off election two months away.

“We are excited to finish the night in first place and this is all thanks to the support we received,” tweeted Alvarez. “Since day one, we have prided ourselves in being a grassroots campaign and we have been out in our neighborhoods knocking on doors, talking and listening to the community every day and tonight is the reflection of all those efforts.

“Thank you to our team, our amazing volunteers, and all those who voted! We are excited to finish the night in first place and this is all thanks to the support we received.”

 

“I’m excited that South County voters strongly supported our campaign tonight and I’m thrilled to be advancing to the runoff,” wrote Gomez in a string of tweets. “In the runoff election, voters will have a stark choice between real change to make San Diego more affordable for working families who are struggling, and the special interest status quo that’s making life harder and more expensive for all of us. It’s a choice between a community organizer with a grassroots campaign and an SDG&E lobbyist funded by the big oil companies charging $6 a gallon at the pump. I’m ready to win this runoff election and win the fight for a better San Diego that works for all our families, not just the wealthy and well-connected.”

The run-off for the South County Assembly seat

Former SD Councilwoman Georgette Gomez (Photo: Gomez for AD80)

The special election for the 80th District South County Assembly seat began in January after Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez resigned to become the next leader of the California Labor Federation union later this year. With the post open, former City Council members Alvarez and Gomez, both still reeling from losses for the San Diego Community College District Board and the 53rd Congressional District in the past few years respectively, threw their hats in the ring. Pickard, a Republican who is a perennial candidate in many San Diego races, also joined the race.

Gomez quickly garnered the support of many prominent Democrats, including Gonzalez, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, San Diego County Supervisors Nora Vargas and Nathan Fletcher and the California Democratic Party, while Alvarez only got a few prominent local politicians, such as City Council members, to support him.

However, Alvarez soon surprised many by bringing out strong Centrist support, as well as many moderate Democrats. Following Tuesday’s election, with Pickard’s voting bloc of mostly Republicans now open, many experts think that Alvarez may pull off an upset in June.

“Gomez, who is pretty far-left, needs to contend with another Democrat who has some strong liberal leanings but is also one with centrist and pro-business tendencies,” explained San Diego County pollster Felipe Calderon to the Globe on Wednesday. “I know many Democrats in San Diego who are surprised that he is doing so well, but Alvarez is showing that he’s going to work with everyone. Big demographic we need to talk about here is Latino business owners. They were severely hurt during the pandemic, and Gonzalez was not helping them really. They see Gomez as Gonzalez part II, and with Alvarez still supporting policies they see as favorable, they’re going with him. Also don’t discount GOP voters. They’d rather have Alvarez than Gomez after years under Gonzalez. Centrists too, as well as many Democrats.”

The 80th Assembly District run-off election is to be held on June 7th as part of the Primary election.

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Evan Symon
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