San Diego City Council

Results: Democrats Appear to Gain Edge on San Diego City Council

After the 2020 election, five fresh faces will join the nine-member San Diego City Council

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Election Day was a big one for Democrats running for San Diego City Council.

The Nov. 3 election brought about major change on the council, with what appears to be five new faces joining the nine-member panel.

While council races are technically nonpartisan, in recent years, council decisions have broken largely along party lines, with conservatives regularly outnumbered.

Here are the latest results from the San Diego Registrar of Voters:

San Diego City Council District 1

District 1 has been represented by Democrat-turned-mayoral candidate Barbara Bry since 2016 and includes La Jolla, Del Mar Heights, Carmel Valley and University City.

In the 2020 race, Democrat Joe LaCava, a civil engineer and business owner, pulled a big lead ahead of small business attorney Will Moore. Election night numbers from the registrar showed LaCava with 61.67% of votes to Moore’s 38.33%. The advantage remained the same as of Friday's results update.

Here’s where the race stands now:

Moore conceded to LaCava in a tweet just after 9 p.m. Tuesday.

San Diego City Council District 3

In District 3 – which represents Balboa Park, Hillcrest, Downtown San Diego, North Park, Old Town, Normal Heights, Golden Hill, Little Italy, and University Heights – Councilman Chris Ward vacated the seat to run for state Assembly. A Democrat, Ward has served since 2016.

The registrar’s election night numbers showed Democrat Stephen Whitburn, a community nonprofit director, pulling far ahead of fellow Democrat Toni Duran. By Friday, Whitburn was holding onto 63% of the vote.

Here’s where that race stands:

San Diego City Council District 5

In District 5 – which represents Black Mountain Ranch, Rancho Bernardo, Rancho Penasquitos, Scripps Ranch and Torrey Highlands – Democrat Marni von Wilpert, a deputy city attorney, pulled ahead of Republican Joe Leventhal, an attorney and small business owner. As of Friday evening, the registrar numbers showed von Wilpert pulling 54% of votes to Leventhal’s 46%.

That gives the Democrats another seat on the council, replacing Mark Kersey, an independent who votes with his more conservative colleagues as often as he votes with the progressive ones. He has served since 2012 and has termed out.

Here’s where that race stands:

San Diego City Council District 7

In District 7 – which represents north-central and northeast San Diego, including Mission Valley, Linda Vista, Serra Mesa, and Tierrasanta – Republican Scott Sherman has termed out. He ran for mayor and finished in third place in the March primary.

Democrat Raul Campillo, a deputy city attorney, pulled ahead of Republican Noli Zosa, a small business owner. The registrar’s latest numbers Friday showed Campillo with 56% of votes to Zosa’s 44% of votes.

Here’s the latest on that race:

San Diego City Council District 9

Lastly, District 9 – which covers east-central San Diego, including Kensington,
College Area, City Heights, and Southeastern San Diego – is being vacated by current Council President Georgette Gomez as she runs for California's 53rd Congressional District. Gomez conceded to opponent Sara Jacobs on Election Night, via Twitter. You can read about that here.

Democrat Sean Elo-Rivera, a San Diego Community College District Board of
Trustees member, will take over the seat following Tuesday's election.

Challenger Kelvin Barrios, a community outreach director and fellow Democrat, suspended his campaign in September after admitting misuse of funds while serving as the treasurer for the San Diego County Young Democrats. You can read all about that here. Though Barrios suspended his ballot and is not eligible for the seat, he still appeared on the ballot.

Barrios was running to fill the seat left open by a former boss, City Council president and 53rd Congressional District candidate Georgette Gomez.

The new council will face a raft of major issues. An ongoing fight against climate change, high levels of homelessness and lack of affordable housing, a utility franchise agreement, monumental transit developments, the ramifications of bad property deals and tangling with what role police should play in society are all on the docket in coming years.

However, far and away the most important issue for the region is and likely will remain the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed hundreds, badly sickened thousands, cost tens of thousands of jobs, decimated the tourism and hospitality industry and created financial insecurity for thousands of residents.

Tackling the issues will fall to the council victors, along with a new San Diego Mayor, new city attorney and incumbent council members Jennifer Campbell, Monica Montgomery Steppe, Chris Cate and Vivian Moreno.

Councilmember Monica Montgomery joins NBC 7’s live coverage and reacts to San Diego Mayoral Race between Todd Gloria and Barbara Bry.
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