San Diego

Meet Larry Turner, the SDPD officer challenging Mayor Todd Gloria in 2024

Gloria has announced that he is seeking a second term as San Diego's mayor, but another candidate has launched a campaign for the job too

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Larry Turner, who has been a San Diego police officer for the past eight years, is challenging Mayor Todd Gloria in the city of San Diego's mayoral race in 2024.

He currently serves as a community relations officer, but he also served on the department's SWAT team. Prior to that, Turner was an intelligence officer for 23 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, retiring as a lieutenant colonel on various deployments and assignments around the world.

He believes that his experience in law enforcement and military gives him a unique perspective on San Diego's most pressing issues.

In fact, he says working with the homeless community in his role as a police officer is what inspired him to run for the mayor's office.

"[I] got a chance to see a lot of developing countries, a lot of people who are suffering in these other countries," Turner said. "To come home and see that happening here, and honestly at a bigger scale than some of the third world countries that I've worked in, it's just very sad."

Turner says he doesn't believe the homeless encampment ban is working but that he has ideas from his time in the military he thinks could be applied to what he calls a "humanitarian crisis" on San Diego's streets.

"I’d bring in all of the players, all of the nonprofits here in San Diego, and bring them into one table," he said. "We used to do this overseas all the time: the State Department and [United States Agency for International Development] would bring all of the nonprofits together, and we would sit around the table, put all our assets there and come up with a really good plan — a synergistic approach to solving the crisis."

Turner is running as an independent candidate. Although he's never served in elected office before, he's hoping he can lead a grassroots campaign and that San Diego voters might be attracted to a candidate that has different experience. 

"We need people who have not filled their resume with political jobs. The political class — it's over. This is not being solved by them," Turner said. "I’ve always been an undesignated person. When I registered to vote, that’s just how I’ve been raised to be, as a Marines Corps officer and as a leader. I’ve voted for people on both sides. I just look for the right solutions."

Turner has the endorsement of one famous San Diegan, former NBA player Bill Walton, who has been a vocal critic of Gloria and his approach to homelessness.

At a recent Mission Beach Town Council meeting, Walton said: "Larry Turner stopped being a Marine so he could get closer to action here at home. When you want to become great at something, you don’t start at the perimeter. You start at the core. That’s what Larry Turner has been able to do." 

Gloria has announced he is seeking a second term. In a statement to NBC 7, his campaign spokesperson Jen Tierney said Gloria "has been one of the most effective mayors in San Diego history. Since he was elected, he has been laser focused on finding real solutions to San Diego's most pressing problems and getting things done for San Diegans. He proudly stands on his record and looks forward to four more years of progress." 

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