Decision 2020

Issues, Not Just Local Race, Driving 50th District Voters to Polls

The race for the 50th District has attracted quite a bit of attention, but choosing their next representative isn't the only thing motivating district voters

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While San Diego’s 50th Congressional District race has been a public political brawl for months, some voters in the traditionally Republican district are motivated to vote this year primarily because of the presidential election.

“I was a little undecided actually, and I’ve swung to the right this past year,” explained Alpine’s Kathleen Gundert.

Gundert told NBC 7 she voted for President Barack Obama in 2008, but now she prefers President Donald Trump because she’s tired of career politicians, and fears Vice President Joe Biden will be tough on the Second Amendment.

“A lot of it has to do with the riots in San Diego, in La Mesa, the extreme leftists…I feel like my safety’s at risk,” she explained.

And it’s that national Democratic distrust — not a local pitch — that’s leading her to vote down the ballot for Republicans like longtime Congressman Darrell Issa.

“I don’t trust the Democratic Party at this point," she said.

Meanwhile, 61-year-old Abderrazaq Sbili from El Cajon decided to vote for the first time this year, not because both 50th District candidates are of Arab descent, but because he’s had enough of President Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric.

“I’m here living [in the United States] almost 25 years,” Sbili told NBC 7. “And for the first time I feel like leaving, going somewhere else, because I feel like I am not welcome here.”

But while Sbili will eagerly vote against the president, he said he won’t vote for Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar just because they both have similar heritages.

“If he can prove to me, what is he bringing to the table, absolutely [I’ll vote for Campa-Najjar]," Sbili said.

Alpine’s Mary Thompson, 93, has long been invested in who represented the 50th District on Capitol Hill, recalling her frustration with disgraced former Congressman Duncan D. Hunter.

“I felt really bad, I could have spanked his butt for him doing what he did,” said Thompson.

And while she cast her vote for Issa — Thompson thought he did a good job serving the 49th Congressional District — her love for the resident came first this year.

“I love him… I’m so hurt that you can’t wear clothes that say you’re for Trump without taking the chance to get beaten up,” she added.

Melonie Mossberg from El Cajon voted for Campa-Najjar Monday, primarily because he’s a Democrat.

“I’m just afraid of Republicans right now cause there are so many yes-men [to the President],” said Mossberg.

But her primary reason for voting is a hope that former Vice President Joe Biden can help defeat the coronavirus and help restore civility to the White House.

“We need to get back to being a government, and doing something for the people. It’s not about two people. It’s about the people,” she said.

And by next week, the people will be heard.

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