Early election results show La Jolla’s Lightner and other Democrats prevailing in local races
With 475,000 provisional and mail-in ballots still to be counted Wednesday morning, it appeared that incumbent District 1 City Councilwoman Sherri Lightner would retain her seat in the northwestern part of San Diego (which includes the majority of La Jolla) by defeating businessman and philanthropist Ray Ellis. The San Diego County Registrar of Voters said its staff are working day and night to get all ballots counted as soon as possible. There is a 28-day deadline to verify the votes, but representatives said they hope to get the results out sooner.
“I always said I would run on my record and that’s what I did,” Lightner said in a statement. “The people of District 1 responded to my message because they know how hard I’ve worked to bring their voices to City Hall. They know I’ve listened to them and worked tirelessly to get San Diego back on track financially while addressing important neighborhood issues from preserving open space to fixing our streets.”
Speaking with the La Jolla Light, Ellis said he phoned Lightner after the election to congratulate her and wish her “the best of success” in her second term.
“We talked about a lot of the issues,” Ellis said. “Obviously, (our campaign is ) disappointed but we knew it was going to be an uphill battle in the general election with the national scene being what it was.
“I tried to stay out of the partisan scene,” added Ellis, who did not formally endorse a candidate for mayor.
Following his campaign sabbatical, Ellis said he will continue serving the community through his involvement with three nonprofit boards: The Parker Foundation, San Diego Social Venture Partners and the Balboa Park Conservancy.
“I will go back to working on the big important issues affecting the community and the region,” he said. “I’ll just go a different avenue on trying to make San Diego a better place to live for all of us.”
Lightner’s was the only City Council seat that went to a November runoff.
Democrats will hold onto a 5-4 majority on the City Council, with Councilman Todd Gloria re-elected outright in June, Councilwoman Marti Emerald returning to office in the newly created District 9 and Scott Sherman winning Emerald’s old district outright in the primary. Mark Kersey was tapped by voters to succeed Councilman Carl DeMaio, who gave up his seat to run for mayor.
Democratic Congressman Bob Filner edged out Republican City Councilman Carl DeMaio in the San Diego mayor’s race. Filner had 51.5 percent of the vote, compared to 48.5 for DeMaio Wednesday morning, with slightly less than 10,000 votes separating the two candidates out of more than 320,000 cast.
Filner addressed his supporters at the Westin Gaslamp Hotel at around 11:30 p.m. Nov. 6, saying, “Let’s keep in mind, the national picture has been very positive and we expect San Diego to follow forward. … People in this city have realized, I‘m on their side and the city has to change.”
Filner said the same public officials have remained “at the table” for years. Filner promised that, as mayor, “we’re going to just move you way over here and have new people at the table. … People who look different … the working people from the city, people who care about the environment, people who care about education, the people who care about our neighborhoods. They have not been at the table.”
Across the street at the US Grant hotel on election night, DeMaio told supporters the hallmark of his candidacy had been the “reform agenda.”
“Working together we have imposed big change on city hall. You helped us build a council majority that is now committed to pursuing reform. You helped us qualify those initiatives — from our first initiative on fair and open competition to our pension reform initiative that made national headlines in June. … We brought San Diego back from the brink of bankruptcy and we put it on the path of financial recovery.”
DeMaio officially conceded to Filner during a press conference Wednesday morning.
“I know that ballots are still being counted and I will absolutely ensure that every vote counts and that process will happen irrespective of my decision today to concede this race,” DeMaio said. “But I want to give our next mayor the most time possible to put together a solid administration. And I want to begin the process of healing our city and bringing all sides together.”
Following the election, the office of City Attorney Jan Goldsmith circulated a resolution, adopted Oct. 23 with support of both mayoral candidates and the full City Council, laying out 10 “fundamental principles for an effective, cooperative and transparent mayor-council form of government.”
“I congratulate Mayor-Elect Bob Filner on his victory,” Goldsmith said in a statement. ” I look forward to working with him to ensure that City Hall functions smoothly, effectively and transparently, to the benefit of all.”
52 District congressional race
Democratic Port Commissioner and La Jollan Scott Peters held a narrow lead over Republican Congressman Brian Bilbray in the 52nd District congressional race, by about a .4 percent margin Wednesday morning. With less than 700 votes separating the two, it was unclear if remaining provisional ballots might ultimately change the outcome.
Democrats believed they had a strong chance to unseat Bilbray, after redistricting moved his district into unfamiliar inland territory.
Peters attempted to paint Bilbray as a tool of far-right elements of the Republican Party who wants to privatize Social Security, make Draconian cuts to education and scientific research and reduce the social safety net for the elderly, ill and disabled.
Bilbray has denied Peters’ claims on entitlements and contends Peters is largely to blame for the city of San Diego’s one-time fiscal mess, which occurred while he was a councilman.
—City News Service, La Jolla Light Reports
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