With three San Diego County Board of Supervisors seats up for grabs this year, Democrats are hoping to flip the Republican majority the board has had for more than 30 years
Districts 1, 2 and 3 are all getting new supervisors this year. District 1 has two Democratic candidates, and District 2 has 2 Republican candidates. DIstricts 4 and 5 are represented by a Democrat and a Republican, respectively. District 3 will be the wild card, with the incumbent Republican candidate facing off against a Democrat and determining the political leaning of the board.
"Democrats who have so long been excluded from having the majority in the County Board of Supervisors, even in a county that's been blue, in the last several elections, have been eyeing this opportunity," said UCSD political science chair Thad Kousser.
District 3 spans the coastal communities of Del Mar and Encinitas, as well as east across state Route 52, and also includes the Interstate 15 connected communities of Tierrasanta and Escondido. At the top of the agenda for the district is picking up the pieces from the pandemic.
Incumbent candidate Republican Kristin Gaspar has served as supervisor for District 3 since 2016. She's also served four years on the Encinitas City Council and was the first elected mayor of Encinitas. She's been a proponent of opening up businesses to reduce the impact of the pandemic on small business owners.
"We need to really make sure that our businesses are ready, and, in my opinion, they are indeed ready," Gaspar said. "We need to keep a keen eye on our school re-openings and, most importantly, we need to meet people where they're at."
Gaspar is facing off against Democrat Terra Lawson-Remer, an economist and environmental attorney who worked in the Treasury Department during the Obama Administration. She believes a slower approach to reopening is a better approach.
"Our route to reopening our economy is investing in public health," Lawson-Remer said. "To me, the notion that we're calling to reopen bars before we're reopening childcare and schools is an insult to working families."
District 3 has approximately 17,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans. San Diego's Democrats want to flip the seat and, in a presidential election year, the higher-than-usual turnout will also likely play a role in the outcome.