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November Candidate Guide: Districts 1 and 9 and City Attorney

by Kristen Henderson, published

San Diego, CALIF. - San Diego’s election system doesn't look like the state of California.

Since 1989, the City has had an election loophole, allowing candidates who receive over 50% of the primary vote to be automatically elected and skip the electorate in the November general election. Voters are challenging this election system through a ballot initiative. If passed, Measure K will change the system starting in 2018.

The current loophole meant 4 of the 7 races for the City of San Diego ended in the June primary, leaving just three races on November’s ballot: Districts 1 and 9, and City Attorney.

City Council

District 1 – Barbara Bry and Ray Ellis (Officially Dropped Out)

Barbara Bry received 48.4% of votes in the June primary. Ray Ellis received 33.86%. With no candidate receiving a majority of votes, District 1 will appear on the ballot. However, Ellis dropped out of the race in August and there is currently no way to remove his name from the ballot.

District 3 

Chris Ward won in the June Primary.

District 5

Mark Kersey won in the June Primary.

District 7

Scott Sherman won in the June Primary.

District 9 – Ricardo Flores and Georgette Gomez 

For the first time, District 9 will elect a Latino representative, reflecting the majority-minority population of Latinos who comprise the area. D9 Neighborhoods include Kensington, City Heights, Alvarado Estates, College Area, College View Estates, El Cerrito, Mountain View, Mount Hope, Rolando, Southcrest, and Talmadge.

No candidate received a majority of the vote in the June primary. It was a close race. Flores received 33.74% of the vote, while Gomez received 30.16%.

Georgette Gomez (D) is the Associate Director of the Environmental Health Coalition and a member of the City Heights Community Planning Group. The daughter of working class immigrants, Gomez grew up in Barrio Logan and graduated from SDSU. She and her partner live in the Azalea Park community of City Heights.

Key Issues

  • Improve public safety;
  • Improve infrastructure;
  • Increase affordable housing;
  • Help small business by removing out-of-date regulations and barriers;
  • Improve environmental protection; and
  • Yes on D: no public funding for new stadium.

Read more about these issues on Gomez’s website.

Gomez has received support from Councilmembers Todd Gloria and David Alvarez, Former Councilmembers Donna Frye and John Hartley, and the Democratic Party of San Diego County. 

Ricardo Flores (D) has served District 9 since 2005. Before becoming Chief of Staff for District 9 Councilwoman Marti Emerald, Flores was a senior aide to U.S. Rep. Susan Davis. He is the son of two public school teachers and lived in District 9’s City Heights neighborhood as a child before attending UCLA. He and his wife currently live in Kensington. 

Key Issues

  • Improve public safety;
  • Improve infrastructure;
  • Improve environmental protection and environmental justice; and
  • Support working families through Earned Sick and Minimum Wage and common sense laws for maternity leave.

Read more about these issues on Flores’s website.

Flores’s supporters include U.S. Reps. Susan Davis and Juan Vargas, Council President Pro Tem Marti Emerald, Council President Sherri Lightner, Councilmember Myrtle Cole, the San Diego Police Officers Association, and former District 9 candidate Araceli Martinez.

City Attorney

Robert Hickey and Mara Elliott

With Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s victory decided in the June Primary, the City Attorney will be the only office on the ballot decided by citywide vote. Deputy District Attorney Robert Hickey and Deputy City Attorney Mara Elliott were the top-two vote getters of a five-way race in the June Primary. Hickey was the only Republican in the race and led with 28.98% of votes. The four Democratic contenders split the 71%, with Elliott securing 24.18% of votes.

Robert Hickey (R) has lived in San Diego for almost 40 years. He graduated from Poway High School and UC San Diego before earning his J.D. from USD’s School of Law. He has spent most of his career as a prosecutor in the DA's office, where he’s served as Deputy District Attorney for nearly 19 years. He and his wife live in Point Loma with their two children.

Key Issues

  • Improve the City’s response to domestic violence;
  • Mitigate chronic homelessness by expanding supportive services and recovery programs for criminal offenses, drug abuse, and mental illness; and
  • Create and enforce stricter laws against human trafficking.

Read more about these issues on Hickey’s website.

between the two. 

Hickey’s supporters include Mayor Kevin Faulconer, Supervisor Bill Horn, Sheriff Bill Gore, the San Diego Police Officers Association, the San Diego Deputy Sheriffs Association, Councilmembers Scott Sherman, Mark Kersey, Chris Cate, and Lorie Zapf, and the Latino American Political Association of San Diego. Hickey also recently received an endorsement from his boss, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, despite reports of contentionMara Elliott (D) has nearly 20 years of public sector legal experience. She graduated from UC Santa Barbara and earned her J.D. from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law. Since 2009, she has served as the Chief Deputy City Attorney for the City of San Diego. She currently lives in Scripps Ranch with her husband and their two children.

If elected, Elliott will be the first female City Attorney for the City of San Diego. 

Key Issues:

  • Strengthen public safety by expanding San Diego’s Neighborhood Prosecutor Program to every community;
  • Improve protection of victims of domestic, child, and elder abuse; and
  • Enforce fair wage laws and prosecute wage theft.

Read more about these issues on Elliott’s website.

Councilmembers Todd Gloria, David Alvarez, and Sherri Lightner, as well as former primary opponents Gil Cabrera and Bryan Pease.

Elliott has received support from the San Diego Deputy City Attorneys Association, the San Diego County Democratic Party, Former City Attorney John W. Witt, the Deputy City Attorneys Association, Councilmember-elect Chris Ward, Council President Pro Tem Marti Emerald,

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