7 to Watch: San Diego Races & Measures to Watch on Election Night

Voters in San Diego County will choose who will represent them in office and what measures to approve to shape the future of their cities

San Diego County voters had a lot to consider this election cycle, from which politicians will represent them on the local and national scale to a slew of measures -- enough to use nearly the full alphabet.

NBC 7's Danny Freeman breaks down a couple of local races that could shape San Diego's future for years to come.

Here are the most noteworthy San Diego races and measures to keep an eye on as the ballots are tallied:

1. 50th Congressional District

One of the most closely watched races in San Diego County is in the East County's 50th Congressional District, where a seat is left vacant after disgraced former Congressmember Duncan D. Hunter resigned in light of a corruption scandal.

Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar, who came closer than many thought to flipping the district against Hunter in 2016, is facing long-time Republican congressman Darrell Issa.

The two joined NBC 7 for a debate on the issues affecting their voters. Click here for more.

Another notable Congressional race is in the 53rd District, where a seat is vacant after long-time Rep. Susan Davis announced her retirement. She will be replaced by another Democrat, either businesswoman Sara Jacobs or City Council President Georgette Gomez.

2. San Diego Mayoral Race

The city of San Diego will get a Democratic mayor to replace current Republican Mayor Kevin Falconer, who has reached his two-term limit and cannot be re-elected. Voters get to choose who will replace him -- City Council Member Barbara Bry or California Assembly Member Todd Gloria.

To help voters decide between the two candidates, NBC 7 hosted a mayoral debate where the candidates addressed a host of issues they will need to address if elected, including homelessness, racial equity in policing, and the budget deficit -- the largest in the city's history.

3. San Diego County Board of Supervisors

The make-up of San Diego County's supervising board may change this year for the first time in 30 years if Democrats are able to flip District 3, which spans the coastal communities of Del Mar and Encinitas, across state Route 52, and also includes the Interstate 15 connected communities of Tierrasanta and Escondido. Facing off in that race are Democrat Terra Lawson-Remer and political newcomer and incumbent, Republican Kristin Gaspar.

District 1 and District 2 are also up for grabs this year, with two Democratic candidates and two Republican candidates, respectively. Here's what to know.

4. San Diego Unified School District Board

Three of five board seats are up for grabs in California's second-largest school district. Sabrina Bazzo and Crystal Trull are both running for the seat in District A, which covers north central San Diego, including University City, Clairemont and Madison High Schools. Incumbent Richard Barrera and Camille Harris are running to represent District D, which covers south central San Diego including Hoover High School. Incumbent Sharon Whitehurst-Payne and LaWana Richmond are running for the seat in District E, which covers southeast San Diego, including Morse and Lincoln High Schools. Learn more about the candidates here.

5. City of San Diego: Measures A-E

San Diego voters will be asked to make several decisions this election year, from property taxes for affordable housing to building height limits. Here's what to watch.

Measure A asks voters to allow the city to issue up to $900 million in order to fund low-income housing. If passed with a two-thirds vote, property taxes could go up between $3 to $21 per $100,000 in assessed value. Supporters say Measure A would create enough affordable homes to be a solution to the city's homelessness problem. Opponents argue that it's too expensive.

Measure B would amend the city's charter to replace the current Community Review Board on Police Practices with the Commission on Police Practices, which would have members appointed by the city council who can conduct investigations into police complaints and would hold subpoena power. Creating the board was passed by the city council -- and backed by Mayor Kevin Faulconer -- but needs voter approval because it would amend the city charter.

Measure C and Measure D are both measures to change some San Diego Unified School District rules. Measure C would change the way board members are elected. Right now, voters in the Primary Election choose board members based on sub-districts. But in the General Election, the entire city gets to vote on who should hold the seats. If Measure C passes, both would be decided by sub-districts. Measure D would give the SDUSD board the power to remove elected board members.

The city of San Diego has a 30-foot height limit in coastal areas but Measure E would give an exception for the Midway-Pacific Highway Community Plan area, which includes the Sports Arena redevelopment project. Supporters say it's the only way to move the Midway District's redevelopment forward. Opponents say it could open up the door to other areas attempting to avoid coastal height limits.

6. The Marijuana Measures

Four cities have marijuana measures on the ballot this year: Encinitas, Lemon Grove, Oceanside and Solana Beach.

Encinitas' Measure H would amend current zoning to allow marijuana retail, cultivation, manufacturing and distribution but only in specified zones. Businesses would need to obtain business licenses and their activities would be subject to restrictions and regulations. Currently, marijuana businesses are prohibited. The measure was a citizen-led initiative and needs more than 50% support to pass.

In Lemon Grove, voters are being asked to vote on Measure J, which would replace the current cannabis tax with a cannabis business tax with revenue going to the city's general fund. Marijuana retail businesses could be taxed up to 8% of sales and other marijuana businesses could be taxed up to 4%. That's estimated to generate between a half-million-dollars to $1.2 million annually. Currently, only medical marijuana dispensaries are allowed in the city with a permit. If other types of businesses are legalized, this tax would apply to them, too.

The city of Oceanside also wants to impose a tax on marijuana retailers, distributors and manufacturers of up to 6% of their revenue. Marijuana cultivators would see taxes up to 3.5%. The city estimates Measure M could generate about $1.9 million annually for city services.

Measure S will go before Solana Beach voters to ask if the city code should be amended to allow commercial marijuana retailers in non-residential zones and to allow marijuana deliveries and cultivation everywhere. At least 50% of voters need to approve the measure for it to pass. Currently, all commercial marijuana businesses are prohibited. Its passage would only allow two dispensaries at a time to operate legally within the city.

7. City of Oceanside: Measure L

A controversial land development project that would turn hundreds of acres of land in Oceanside into a multi-use so-called "agri-village" will be facing voters this year. Measure L would rezone about 176 acres of land in northeastern Oceanside meant for agriculture to allow for the North River Farms development project, which will include about 68 acres of farmland, about 585 homes, and a 25-acre commercial village. View the site plan here.

The city council had already approved the rezoning that would allow the project to continue, but residents petitioned to have it overturned, leading to this measure being placed before voters in November. Decisions made by the city council to amend the General Plan for this project would not change.

Supporters say it will preserve farmland and allow growers to produce organic fruits and vegetables for Oceanside families and restaurants. They argue that if the measure doesn't pass, a development filled with large housing and no farmland would come along instead.

Opponents, including singer-songwriter Jason Mraz, says the project is housing development masqueraded as a farmland project and will actually result in a loss of farmland. They also say it will create too much growth in an area that can't handle it.

The California Propositions

While not specific to San Diego County, there are also 12 California Propositions facing all San Diego County voters this year that could make a huge impact on their lives, incuding property taxes, rent control, parole, and rideshare drivers, among others. See how Californian's vote on those important measures here.

Contact Us