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Councilman Chris Ward and fellow Democrat Sarah Davis vie for state 78th Assembly District seat

San Diego City Councilman Chris Ward and fellow Democrat Sarah Davis seek the state 78th Assembly District seat.
San Diego City Councilman Chris Ward is battling newcomer and fellow Democrat Sarah Davis for the state 78th Assembly District seat.
(File photos)

With state Assembly member Todd Gloria giving up his seat to run for San Diego mayor in the Nov. 3 election, City Councilman Chris Ward is battling newcomer and fellow Democrat Sarah Davis for Gloria’s post representing the 78th District.

Ward received more than half the total votes in the district during the March primary. Davis, a midwife with a small-business and activist background, got almost 28 percent of the vote. As the first- and second-place primary finishers, they are facing off in the general election.

The 78th District includes the coastal communities between Solana Beach and the U.S.-Mexico border (including La Jolla), as well as the mid-city area of San Diego.

Ward, who in 2016 was elected to what was then Gloria’s seat on the City Council, now seeks to take Gloria’s spot in the Assembly.

Ward said his more than 20 years of community involvement make him an ideal candidate to jump from city to state government.

“I think that what I offer is a significant degree of experience and proven leadership on issues that matter to San Diego voters,” Ward said.

He said his experience in government makes him better suited for the job than his opponent. He noted that during the Great Recession he worked as chief of staff for then-state Sen. Marty Block.

“I understand how to get legislation through the committees and to the governor’s desk,” Ward said.

Davis said her status as a political outsider makes her a more relatable candidate than her opponent.

She has spent time during the coronavirus pandemic dealing with the same issues many people have, such as distance learning and filing for unemployment, she said.

“I have three elementary-schoolers at home,” Davis said, adding that she has “a background on what life is really like for real people, as opposed to a career politician. My opponent was handpicked to inherit this seat.”

Both candidates espouse causes such as confronting climate change and expanding access to health care. Davis, who said she is running to the left of Ward, is an advocate of single-payer health care, while Ward’s platform emphasizes access to “affordable” care.

Davis counts among her endorsers former Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña, Imperial Beach Councilwoman Paloma Aguirre and the San Diego Democratic Socialists.

Ward was endorsed by all current San Diego Democratic Assembly members, state Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins and a long list of labor unions. ◆