Decision 2020

District 3: The San Diego County Supervisor ‘Swing Seat’

Two Democrats are vying for the chance to unseat Republican incumbent Kristin Gaspar in the March 3 primary election

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The three candidates for San Diego County Supervisor District 3 all have some major things in common: They're moms, they speak with passion, and they all believe they're who is best for the county's future.

But, only the top-two vote getters will make it past the March 3 primary election for the chance to face off in November's general election.

As the incumbent and only Republican in the race, it's generally believed Kristin Gaspar will advance, making the primary more about Democrats Olga Diaz or Terra Lawson-Remer.

District 3 is made up of north coastal communities from Del Mar to Encinitas, stretches east across State Route 52, and includes Interstate 15 communities between Tierrasanta and Escondido.

While a supervisor seat is technically non-partisan, the District 3 race is full of interest outside the communities it represents because of it's pivotal role in shaping the board's political majority.

District 1, currently represented by termed-out supervisor Greg Cox, will almost certainly switch parties to a democrat based on the top candidates.

District 1's flip will leave two Democrats and two Republicans on the board, so the winner of District 3 will determine which way it leans on issues from housing, to transportation, to mental health spending and homelessness.

Gaspar hangs her hat on tackling mental health and addiction problems which impact homelessness.

"We have to empower people, we have to uplift them, have to help them move from dependency to self sufficiency and give them the beautiful gift of their life back and it has been such a reward," said Gaspar, who pushes back on the idea homelessness is more of a housing problem. "It is a mental health and addiction crisis, plain and simple."

When asked about a potential political shake up on the historically Republican-controlled board, Gaspar pointed out her number one concern.

"The real threat here is for the first time in the history of the board of supervisors the labor unions could have huge influence over this race, they've already plunked down a million dollars to take over majority control," said Gaspar.

But, Lawson-Remer, one of Gaspar's opponent's, said it's developers who currently have influence over the board.

"They know they're not going to be able to buy me, so they don't want me to be elected. So they're going to spend a ton to support Kristin Gaspar," said Lawson-Remer.

The 3rd generation San Diegan and avid surfer is running to prioritize protecting beaches and coast lines and to do something about climate change.

Lawson-Remer, an economist and environmental attorney, worked in the treasury department under the Obama Administration and said her prior jobs as a San Diego City Council staffer and organizer working with United Farm Workers give her unparalleled experience to tackle San Diego's big challenges.

Diaz believes her experience of 12 straight years on the Escondido City Council gives her the leg up to solve problems at the county level.

"Local government is my passion, turns out I like helping people, and this is the best way I know to do it," said Diaz.

The daughter of Mexican immigrants who learned English as a second language lists climate change, housing, and homelessness as top priorities.

She also wants to stop sprawling developments.

"You build high density infill projects and you stop sprawling, you're saving tax payers dollars, because the infrastructure underneath roads and homes is very expensive to install and much more expensive to maintain 20 to 30 years down the road" said Diaz.

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