Chula Vista

New Chula Vista Campaign Implores Voters: ‘Don't Vote for the Dead Guy' for City Attorney

Coming out of the primary, Simon Silva was the front runner for Chula Vista city attorney, but he died in September.

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Chula Vista voters have an odd decision to make on Nov. 8.

Simon Silva, the front runner after the primary died in September but still appears on the ballot. A new online campaign is imploring voters: “Don’t Vote for the Dead Guy.”

Silva died on Sept. 3 during his second bout with cancer. The deputy city attorney for Chula Vista bested attorneys Dan Smith and John Moot. As the two recipients of the most votes in the primary, Smith and Silva remain on the Nov. 8 general election ballot.

“You know, to say, ‘Don’t vote for the dead guy,’ is a little harsh,’ but it’s not about him any longer," said long-time Chula Vista resident Kevin O’Neill. "It's about what the impact to this community will be."

As of Oct. 25, Silva’s campaign signs were still in Chula Vista yards, his website was still active, and the San Diego County Democratic Party still endorsed him on its website.

O’Neill, who has been active in local government for years, scratched his head.

“They want to honor Mr. Silva or for political motives?” he questioned.

O’Neill admitted supporting Moot in the primary and said he hadn’t decided who to vote for in the general before Silva died. However, O’Neill said that’s not why he started a Facebook campaign he called Don’t Vote for the Dead Guy.

If Silva beats Smith in November, that will force Chula Vista to hold a special election to replace Silva. That could cost the city upwards of $2 million.

“I look at that and see it’s an unnecessary expense,” O’Neill explained. “We don’t have that kind of money to spare or shouldn’t.”

A recent Smith mailer (paid for by Fiscal Watchdog – Protecting Taxpayers) included a picture of Silva with “Deceased" printed across the front.

NBC 7 tried contacting the Silva campaign and the San Diego County Democratic Party Tuesday. There was no response by Tuesday afternoon.

NBC 7 spoke with the owner of one of Silva’s campaign signs. He declined an on-camera interview but said a special election would be worth it because Silva represented what he valued and Smith does not.

“I’d be fine with that if it didn’t come with a 2 million [dollar] price tag,” concluded O’Neill.

Editor's Note: A previous version of this story included “city treasurer” instead of “city attorney” in the headline.

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