From record-setting voter registration to a large and diverse field of first-time candidates, signs are pointing to a "blue wave" in San Diego County in the upcoming election, mirroring Democratic momentum seen throughout the country this year.
The San Diego County Democratic Party is supporting an unprecedented 140 local candidates on the November 6 ballot -- nearly twice as many as the Party endorsed in the last midterm cycle.
Against the backdrop of a historically divisive presidency that has sparked progressive activism from coast to coast, the local Democratic Party's current candidates are also particularly diverse, with many newly engaged in electoral politics: 65% are non-incumbents, 55% are women, and at least 35% are people of color.
"Democrats have the momentum right now in races from Congress to City Council" said Jessica Hayes, Chair of the San Diego County Democratic Party. "After nearly two years of marching, organizing, recruiting, and training, we're ready to win."
"Donald Trump may not be on the ballot, but his appalling conduct and disastrous policies have motivated thousands of San Diegans to get involved," she added. "The ripples from this wave will be felt for years to come."
Democratic candidates are not just reacting to the president, but also generally embracing the Party's platform on issues ranging from gun safety and universal healthcare to police accountability and environmental stewardship. Democrats have a full slate running this year in many traditionally Republican communities, including Carlsbad, Poway, and Santee.
Voter registration is another major mark of the blue wave. For the first time ever, nonpartisan voters outnumber Republicans in San Diego County. Democrats lead with 36% of voters countywide, followed by nonpartisans at 30% and Republicans at 29%.
As of the most recent report, Democrats now slightly outnumber Republicans in the 77th Assembly District, signaling a more competitive race there than might have been expected just a year ago. The city of Oceanside recently reached a Democratic registration plurality, and El Cajon is on track to follow soon.
A further variable, grassroots volunteerism, can translate a pool of enthusiastic voters and motivated candidates into victories on Election Day. The San Diego County Democratic Party had more than 600 active precinct volunteers in the recent primary -- about as many as in the last presidential general election. The County Party has been signing up new volunteer canvassers every month since, building a team with "boots on the ground" to boost Democrats past the finish line in November.