Early voting results Tuesday evening showed the City Council District 2, 4 and 8 incumbents ahead in their primary races and a close match between two District 6 candidates, according to the county Registrar of Voters website.
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Incumbents Monica Montgomery Steppe and Vivian Moreno -- representing council districts 4 and 8, respectively -- are heavy favorites to reach the November runoff election. Steppe was at 70.75%, or 7,350 votes, while Moreno was at 63.21%, or 5,197 votes.
Incumbent Jen Campbell, of District 2, remained at 32.04%, with 6,029 votes.
In the District 6 race, nonprofit director Kent Lee was in first place at 38.77% or 5,709 votes, followed by Tommy Hough, at 38.48% or 5,666 votes. Jane Glasson rounded out the candidate hopefuls with 22.75% or 3,350 votes.
Steppe is facing minor challenges from Gloria Evangelista -- at 22.36% or 2,323 votes -- and Tylisa Suseberry, at 6.89% or 716 votes.
Moreno is facing a rematch with 2018 opponent Antonio Martinez, who was in second place at 36.79% or 3,025 votes. A physician, Campbell has received key endorsements from Mayor Todd Gloria and the majority of the county's local and congressional representatives.
She is up against two Democrat candidates who could force a runoff. According to the county website Tuesday night, her closest challenger was dentist/professor Linda Lukacs, who was at 23.82% or 4,484 votes.
Lori Saldana -- a former Assemblywoman from 2006 to 2010 -- remained in third place, at 18.67% or 3,515 votes. Also in the District 2 race are Joel Day, a UC San Diego professor, who stood at 13.10%, with 2,465 votes; community volunteer Mandy Havlik, with 8.09% (or 1,523 votes); and landlord/real estate salesperson Daniel Smiechowski, at 4.28% (805 votes).
City Council races, like all municipal races in California, are ostensibly nonpartisan. However, District 2 -- which encompasses Mission Beach, Ocean Beach, Point Loma and Clairemont neighborhoods -- leans heavily Democrat.
Campbell has in recent months led an effort to regulate and reduce the number of short-term vacation rentals with the intent of freeing up hundreds of residences for the strained housing market in San Diego. Additionally, she successfully pushed for regulations on sidewalk and pushcart vendors.
She has also joined efforts to ban flavored tobacco products and declare San Diego a safe city for reproductive freedoms and access to abortion.
Campbell survived a recall effort in 2021, led by residents opposed to her push to regulate short-term vacation rentals. Saldana authored a bill to end "open carry" of firearms in California while in the Assembly.
Following her terms in the Assembly, Saldana unsuccessfully ran for public office three other times, in the 2012 election for California's 52nd Congressional District, the 2016 San Diego mayoral election and the 2018 San Diego County Board of Supervisors election.
Her priorities include building more supportive housing options for older adults, low-income families, veterans and people experiencing homelessness. She is also focused on COVID-19 recovery and bolstering the city's workforce.
She has been endorsed by the California Retired Teachers Association, Progressive Democrats of America and Run Women Run, amongst others.
Day has deep history in the district. His family has been living there since just after World War II and he attended Point Loma Nazarene University, where he met his wife. He earned his master's degree from University of San Diego, and a doctorate in international politics and comparative government from University of Denver.
He has worked at the city of San Diego, where "he managed community engagement, public safety operations, and led policy changes on police oversight," according to his campaign.
Day has been endorsed by the San Diego Education Association, San Diego Progressive Democrats Club, the League of Conservation Voters and the United Domestic Workers of America.
In Council District 6, Councilman Chris Cate has termed out. Hough serves as a county planning commissioner and has been actively campaigning for the position for several years. His priorities include hyperlocal focus on fixing roads and improving parks and libraries in the district.
He has been endorsed by the Sierra Club, League of Conservation Voters and San Diego Progressive Democratic Club.
Lee is a first-generation immigrant who studied at UC San Diego. He is the executive director of Pacific Arts Movement, a media arts organization focusing on Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander cinema and which hosts the annual San Diego Asian Film Festival.
His priorities include improving neighborhood services, COVID-19 economic recovery, increasing housing access across all affordability levels and investing in the future of the Convoy Pan Asian Cultural and Business Innovation District.
Lee has been endorsed by the San Diego County Democratic Party, the San Diego Regional Chamber, Mayor Todd Gloria and Council President Sean Elo- Rivera.
The top-two vote getters in each race will proceed to a November runoff election.