There was a lot for Democrats to celebrate on the night of the June 7 primary election. Compared to prior primary elections, in which Democrats were fighting uphill battles on multiple fronts, the successes we experienced signaled our emergence as the dominant political party of San Diego County. On Tuesday, we began to reap more rewards from many years of hard work. And we have reason to look forward to even better results in November.
Women took front-and-center stage at all levels, starting with Hillary Clinton's historic milestone as the first female (presumptive) presidential nominee of a major political party. Despite decades of scrutiny and political attacks, she enters the final round against Trump as an eminently experienced and qualified candidate for the White House.
This year also marks the first time that two Democrats -- both women of color -- will be vying for an open U.S. Senate seat. Attorney General Kamala Harris and Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez represent the vanguard of progress that Democrats in California have made. The election of either of these distinguished leaders will make history as either the first Latina or the first South Asian/Jamaican-American woman to become a U.S. Senator.
Barbara Bry defied all odds in her race for San Diego City Council District 1, perhaps the most-watched contest in the county due to its consequences for the council majority. First returns showed her at 49.6%, within striking distance of the 50% needed to take the seat outright. This seemed impossible for any candidate running in a crowded primary contest of five candidates. We will watch as the ballots continue to be counted to see if she pulls it off. If not, she is off to a roaring start in runoff for a seat that, just a few months ago, pundits were predicting that to her opponent would win in the primary.
With four Democratic candidates in the San Diego City Attorney's race, we had no idea who would emerge to challenge the lone Republican candidate in November. Clearly Chief Deputy City Attorney Mara Elliott's strong professional career in civil law, and the fact that she was the only woman in the race, propelled her to the forefront. Mara is in an exceedingly strong position to win in November and become the first femaile city attorney in the history of the City of San Diego.
The two incumbent Democratic judges who were challenged this year, James Mangione and Keri Katz, won reelection handily. And Proposition I passed in the City of San Diego, immediatiely raising the minimum wage and granting earned sick leave to people who work in the city.
Other highlights of the evening included Chris Ward, whose strong showing clinched his race to become the next San Diego Councilmember District 3. He is ready to take on the progressive mantle of his predecessors, the honorable Christine Kehoe, Toni Atkins and Todd Gloria. County Board of Education incumbents Mark Anderson and Gregg Robinson are watching closely to see if they can edge out their opponents to keep their seats in races that are too close to call.
Some candidates will be facing runoff elections in November. Speaker Emeritus Toni Atkins running for Senate, Assemblymembers Shirley Weber and Lorena Gonzalez, Assemby candidate Todd Gloria, and Congressmembers Susan Davis, Juan Vargas, and Scott Peters are sailing toward victories in November. Ricardo Flores and Georgette Gomez will face off in the heavly Democratic Council District 9. County Supervisor Dave Roberts is facing a tough challenge from Encinitas Mayor Kristin Gaspar in the Republican-leaning District 3. San Diego Unified School Board candidates John Lee Evans and LaShae Collins had strong showings in their districts and will now move on to citywide contests. Rick Shea will fight to retain his seat on the County Board of Education.
I would like to thank all the candidates who had the courage to step into the fray to run for public office. It is not easy. Campaigning is an all-consuming activity. It requires candidates to sacrifice their personal and family life, and often income, to dedicate time to raising money, meeting the public, and reaching out to voters. Every ounce of energy and perseverence a candidate can muster is needed to meet never-ending demands of a campaign. We thank you all!