San Diego City Council

Vote for San Diego City Council President Was Expected; Election Result Was Not

Councilman Sean Elo-Rivera was elected 8-1, with outgoing president Jennifer Campbell the lone dissenting vote

City of San Diego

The San Diego City Council elected Councilman Sean Elo-Rivera on Monday as its new council president, ousting Councilwoman Jennifer Campbell from the role she has held for the past year.

The 8-1 vote — with Campbell the lone holdout — put Elo-Rivera in the new position immediately after the vote was taken.

City Council Member Sean Elo-Rivera talks to Priya Sridhar about making all San Diegans pay for garbage disposal.

"Our greatest treasure is our people," Elo-Rivera was quoted in part in a news release that went out after the vote. "By breaking down the walls of city hall, we will empower the public to be a partner in decision-making. I look forward to partnering with Mayor Gloria to ensure that this is a city that works for all.” 

Elo-Rivera represents San Diego's District 9, which stretches from the College Area and Kensington in the north to Mountain View and Southcrest in the south. He said he believes the role of council president is to ensure San Diegans are being governed well, responsibly and that all residents have access to the city's resources.

The vote for a new president was scheduled ahead of time, but Elo-Rivera's name was somewhat of a surprise, even among council members.

Councilman Raul Campillo — who counts the new council president among his personal friends — was so surprised by the development that Campillo asked to delay his vote so he could hear Elo-Rivera's approach to the role.

Campbell was voted into the position over Councilwoman Monica Montgomery Steppe by a 5-4 margin in December 2020. During the last year, Campbell had to deal with the city's challenges from the continuing COVID-19 pandemic as well as a failed effort to recall her.

San Diego County Board of Supervisors Chair Nathan Fletcher wasted little time sending out praise for Elo-Rivera's elevation to presidents.

"Congratulations to Sean Elo-Rivera for being elected to serve as the new city council president," Fletcher said in his own Monday afternoon news release. "He will lead the city council well, and I look forward to working with him to address our region’s issues and advancing our goals.”   

Among other tasks, the council president sets the council's agenda and runs its meetings.

The San Diego City Council, like all local government bodies in California, is officially nonpartisan.

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