Two Democrats for San Diego Mayor: Local Media Highlight the Differences

Created: 06 October, 2020
Updated: 14 August, 2022
6 min read

The race to replace San Diego’s Mayor is a little different this year. For the first time in history, two Democrats are in the runoff for the City’s top executive position. 

Without a party label to highlight their differences, here’s what the local media has to say:

Gloria’s Mixed Messages on Bry: ‘Too Progressive’ to GOP Voters; ‘Too Republican’ to Democratic Voters

The OB Rag joined other media in covering the misleading ads sent by Todd Gloria's campaign telling Republicans that Barbara is a progressive, and telling Democrats she is a conservative. Both mailers are misleading in that they are made to look like they were sent from Barbara Bry. The OB Rag says:

Mayoral candidate Todd Gloria can’t have it both ways. On one side, his campaign is sending out mailers to Republican voters touting her “progressive record”, with leading titles that say:

“Don’t believe the Republican lies … Barbara Bry has always been a champion for progressive causes.” This is being sent to Republicans.

On the other hand, Gloria’s campaign is mailing fliers to Democratic voters calling her, “Barbara Bry – The Republican Choice for Mayor”.

Both mailers are from the same group supporting Gloria: the Neighbors for Housing Solutions Supporting Todd Gloria for San Diego Mayor 2020.

Read the rest of the story on the OB Rag.

The ironic phenomenon of Democrats tying their fellow Democrat opponents to Donald Trump goes beyond the mayor's race. In California's 53rd district, Democrat and City Council President Georgette Gomez is running ads against her opponent Sarah Jacobs, a fellow Democrat who previously worked at the State Department under President Barack Obama. Gomez' ads claim "Sara is spendng millions of her family's fortune to buy a seat in congress — Sara supports Trump's tax cuts for corporations."

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KPBS reports:

"The Gómez campaign cites a San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial Board interview from January 30 (not January 20 as depicted in the Gomez ad) where Jacobs allegedly made the comments. During that interview, Jacobs did tell the board she favored lowering corporate taxes, but she added that Trump's cuts were too much.

"I was not in favor of the Republican tax bill that raised our deficit ... I think we need to reverse some of the most harmful provisions in the Republican tax bill," Jacobs said during the interview. "I agree that we should have lowered corporate tax rates — I think we lowered them too far."

The Jacobs' campaign responded that "Jacobs favors lowering taxes only if corporate tax loopholes are closed, which would in effect raise taxes on corporations," and the campaign is calling on Gómez to take down the ad as false and misleading.

“It’s disappointing to see other Democrats stoop to the level of the Trump campaign to spread lies in order to mislead voters," a spokesperson for the Jacobs campaign said. "Georgette Gómez should immediately take down her false and misleading ad, and apologize to the voters of CA-53 who deserve the truth from their candidates and elected leaders.”

The Gómez campaign said the ad is not coming down."

Read the rest of the article on KPBS.

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KPBS: Mayoral Candidates Bry and Gloria Are Two Democrats With Differing Views On City’s Top Issues

KPBS gives special attention to the candidate’s positions on housing, homelessness, transportation, and climate action:

The San Diego mayor's race is among the most consequential on the local ballot this election season, with big implications on city finances, housing and homelessness, transportation and climate action. And for the first time in recent history, both candidates in the runoff are Democrats…


San Diego Union Tribune: Battle for San Diego mayor focuses on housing, vacation rentals, future of sports arena area

The San Diego Union-Tribune chose to focus on the candidate’s differences on land-use policy, homelessness, vacation rentals, SANDAG’s transportation plan, and removal of the height limit in the midway district:  

Assemblyman Todd Gloria and Councilwoman Barbara Bry are both Democrats, so they have similar views on many issues, including support for law enforcement reform, the city’s climate action plan and efforts to boost racial equity.

But some sharp differences have emerged during the runoff between Gloria and Bry. And both candidates contend their different leadership styles and backgrounds make them a better choice to lead San Diego into the future.

Solving San Diego’s housing affordability crisis is where the candidates differ the most, with Gloria supporting state legislation forcing cities to allow dense projects in single-family neighborhoods.

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Bry said during a phone interview this week that giving up local land-use authority endangers the character of San Diego and many of its neighborhoods, adding that there are less aggressive ways to solve the housing crisis.

Read the rest on the San Diego Union Tribune or take a look at The Lost Campaign, a story and photography by the U-T’s Sam Hodgson.

OG Rag: ‘Choosing Between Bry and Gloria Is Like Buying a Used Car’ – Report of Mayoral ‘Debate’ at Ocean Beach Town Council

The OB Rag, an independent publication that has served San Diego’s beach communities since 2007 hosted a “a town hall type of appearance” for the two candidates and didn’t mince words with their write-up:

Gloria would be the used car salesman all smiles and glad handing, diverting questions about how well the car runs to all the cool cup holders inside the car. Bry would be the private owner selling her car and telling you about every nick and wart because she feels that is the right thing to do. Folks should consider buying Bry’s car.

Read the coverage and watch the town hall at OB Rag.

CBS8: San Diego Mayoral Race: Barbara Bry & Todd Gloria

San Diego’s local CBS news station, Channel 8, did a straightforward question and answer session with the same four questions for each candidate:

1). How does San Diego recover from the COVID-19 crisis?

2). What is your solution to the housing crisis in San Diego?

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3). What is your official stance on defunding the police?

4). Why should San Diegans vote for you to be the next mayor?

Watch Their Responses on CBS8

NBC 7: San Diego Mayoral Candidates Todd Gloria, Barbara Bry Face Off in Debate 

In San Diego’s only televised debate, or “informative conversation” as the moderators called it, NBC7 covered a lot of ground and the heat turned up a little bit when the questions turned to the curious tale of the 101 Ash Street purchase.

WATCH: NBC7 San Diego Mayoral Debate Part 1


WATCH: NBC7 San Diego Mayoral Debate Part 2


KUSI: Mayoral candidate Barbara Bry on election advertising

Although Todd Gloria turned down an invitation to debate his opponent on the channel, Barbara Bry did accept an invitation from KUSI News to discuss what the Voice of San Diego pointed out as “seemingly contradictory messages to different households about [Gloria’s] mayoral opponent, Councilwoman Barbara Bry. To Democrats, she’s portrayed as a Trump supporter. To Republicans, she’s portrayed as a progressive champion.”

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WATCH: Mayoral candidate Barbara Bry on election advertising


Voice of San Diego: Politifest 2020

For 15 years, the Voice of San Diego has covered San Diego’s political scene. In a bit of irony, Barbara Bry was its first Editor-in-Chief. Today’s CEO and Editor-in-Chief, Scott Lewis, moderated an hour-long discussion between the two candidates and allowed for a deep-dive on some of the issues including the local government’s response to COVID, 101 Ash Street, whether housing first is still the right approach to homelessness, and policy priorities.

WATCH: Mayoral Race, City of San Diego