Tuesday is the last day to cast a ballot in the 79th Assembly District special election, with both the San Diego County Registrar of Voters' office and each voter's assigned polling place open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The special election was necessitated to fill the seat vacated by Shirley Weber's appointment as California's secretary of state.
A field of four Democrats, including Weber's daughter, La Mesa City Councilwoman Dr. Akilah Weber, and one Republican are seeking to represent the district, which consists of southeastern San Diego, La Mesa, Lemon Grove and parts of Chula Vista, Bonita and National City.
The younger Weber has pledged to advocate for:
- high-impact grants designed to help old businesses stay open and new businesses start up;
- streamlined permitting to enable small-business owners to reopen and expand quickly to meet new demand;
- increased direct payments to support struggling families and workers looking for new employment; and
- more spending on infrastructure to rebuild aging roads and utilities.
In health care, Weber, an obstetrician/gynecologist who leads the Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology Division at Rady Children's Hospital-San Diego, supports more funding for primary care clinics and services, improved equity in health care and increasing health care coverage in underserved areas.
Weber has also called for making public colleges and universities tuition-free, increasing teacher salaries and spending on science, technology, engineering and math education, and expanding early childhood education, including making preschool universal.
Leticia Munguia, the business representative for the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees, District 36, which represents government employees across Southern California, said if elected, "no one will work harder than I will for our working families, young people and seniors."
"I will always listen to the people I represent and fight for our communities, from building stronger schools to ensuring affordable college, access to health care, high-wage jobs and equity in our society," Munguia told City News Service.
Shane Suzanne Parmely, a teacher at Bell Middle School, said she is running "to continue my advocacy for our students, their families, and our communities by writing and supporting legislation that supports housing, food, and health/dental care as basic human rights, criminal justice reform, environmental justice, living wages, LGBTQ+ fam, immigrants and asylum seekers, and of course, fully funded truly public education from preschool through college."
Aeiramique Glass-Blake, a restorative justice consultant, activist and preacher who works in the juvenile justice field, had sought to run against Rep. Juan Vargas, D-San Diego, in the 51st Congressional District in 2020, but failed to gather enough signatures to qualify for the ballot.
"After becoming ill I never thought I would run for office again," said Glass-Blake, who said she had been diagnosed with cancer and endometriosis, a disorder in which tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside the uterus. "Of course I would continue my work towards justice, equity and unity as a diplomat, but one of my mentors reminded me, I am the people's choice for this assignment, for this seat, for such a time as this."
The lone Republican, Marco Contreras, pledged if elected to "be a voice in our government that stands for safely opening our schools immediately according to the science, a voice that stands for re-opening our businesses safely immediately hence creating more jobs and a voice that stands to support our law enforcement."
Contreras is the owner of Rancho Customs Brokers, which provides custom compliance and consulting services.If no candidate receives a majority in the overwhelmingly Democratic district, a runoff between the top two finishers will be held June 8.
Polling locations can be found here.
Interim Registrar of Voters Cynthia Paes has asked those voting in person to wear a face mask and maintain social distance.
As of Monday, the registrar's office had received more than 51,000 ballots, around 17% of the district's registered voters.