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The Blue Wave Surges in San Diego County

Building on the historic victories of the 2018 "blue wave," the San Diego County Democratic Party emerged triumphant in the March 3 primary election, with its favored candidates winning or continuing to a runoff in a staggering 94% of the races where the Party took a position.

"This election clearly demonstrated that the 'blue wave' we saw two years ago was just the beginning,” said Will Rodriguez-Kennedy, Chair of the San Diego County Democratic Party. "From city halls to judicial seats to Congress, San Diego Democrats are focused on not only turning and keeping seats blue, but also electing the most qualified and committed leaders our community has to offer.

"I congratulate our candidates, organizers, and volunteers on their hard-earned victories. Their continued efforts will ensure that our region sets an example for the state — if not the nation — on issues like housing, transit, sustainability, and more. Onward to November."

This election set a record for the most votes ever cast in a primary in San Diego County —  the previous record being the historic 2008 primary that helped usher Barack Obama into the White House. Turnout reached 49%, surpassing the nearly 40% turnout in the 2018 primary, which heralded the "blue wave" of November that year.

This election also demonstrated the growing strength of Democrats overall in San Diego County: 60% of all presidential votes cast here on March 3 went to a Democratic candidate, compared to 54% in the 2016 presidential primary and 48% in 2008.

Primary Election Highlights:

  • With nearly 59% of the vote within the county, Rep. Mike Levin emerged with a strong majority of support for his reelection in CA-49, which in just the last cycle was one of the most hotly contested races in the state.
     
  • Endorsed Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar scored a first place finish in the race to succeed indicted Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter in CA-50. Republican talk show host Carl DeMaio was edged out of the race — his third major electoral loss in a row. 
     
  • In the race for CA-53, San Diego City Council President and endorsed Democrat Georgette Gómez defied polls and expectations, advancing to the November runoff to succeed Rep. Susan Davis.
     
  • In the open race for Assembly District 78, endorsed Democrat Chris Ward got 57% of the vote. All four incumbent Democratic Assemblymembers won comfortable majorities, while Elizabeth Lavertu and Kate Schwartz — running in Assembly Districts 71 and 75, respectively — claimed nearly 40% of the vote. All will continue to November. 
     
  • Our endorsed Democrats fared well in three of the four countywide judicial races. Alana Wong Robinson and Michelle Ialeggio won outright, while Tim Nader will face a runoff with a Republican. 
     
  • In County Board of Supervisors District 1, Democrats Ben Hueso and Nora Vargas will compete in a runoff. And our prevailing candidate in District 3 is Terra Lawson-Remer, now running to beat the incumbent Republican, who got just 43% of the vote. Her win in November will mean a first-ever Democratic majority on the board. 
     
  • Todd Gloria scored a strong first place in his bid for Mayor of San Diego. The ballots left to count will confirm his opponent in the runoff, but it appears to be Republican Scott Sherman. Our candidates also came in first in the three San Diego City Council races in which the Party endorsed: Stephen WhitburnMarni von Wilpert, and Raul Campillo in Districts 3, 5, and 7. The runoffs in Districts 1 and 9 will both feature two Democrats.
     
  • Democrats led in the two other cities with municipal races on March 3. Chula Vista City Councilmember Steve Padilla handily advanced to the runoff in District 3, and Andrea Cardenas will face the Trump-supporting incumbent Republican in District 4. In the Carlsbad special election to fill a City Council vacancy, Cori Schumacher prevailed, keeping her on the council.