Joe LaCava is dropping out of the City Council District 1 race.

“It’s been a long conversation with my family over the past few days,” LaCava said Friday. “And based on a lot of different factors, I decided that it was the right thing to do at this point.”

LaCava, a Democrat, is a native San Diegan who began his civic involvement with La Jolla’s community planning group and has since become a prominent advocate for community participation in the city’s planning process.

LaCava’s departure leaves Democrat Barbara Bry and Republican Ray Ellis to face off.

Support Nonprofit Journalism Today

 Learn more about member benefits

Only having one Democrat in the race could prove beneficial to the GOP, since San Diego Democrats often don’t show up to vote in primary elections. Having two Democrats in a race can split the vote enough that a Republican candidate won’t get 50 percent — the threshold for a candidate to win outright in June and avoid a November runoff, when the electorate is more favorable to Dems.

Ellis ran for the City Council seat in 2012. He finished in first place during the primary but ultimately lost to Sherri Lightner, who is now Council president. Lightner will be termed out in 2016.

An Ellis victory could potentially flip the City Council to a Republican majority.

LaCava said he doesn’t think his exit will give Ellis a huge advantage, though. In fact, he thinks it will be a boost to Democrats.

“I think it actually makes it more likely to preserve the Democratic majority,” LaCava said. “It was likely that Barbara and I would’ve split the Democratic vote, so it allows Democrats to focus on a single candidate. “

    This article relates to: City Attorney, Must Reads, Politics

    Written by Maya Srikrishnan

    Maya Srikrishnan is a reporter for Voice of San Diego. She can be reached at

    VOSD Comment Policy

    Voice of San Diego’s Comment Policy

    If you have any questions about this policy please email If you have a longer, more thoughtful comment, consider submitting a commentary.


    Sign Up For VOSD’s Free Email Newsletters Today

    Enter your email address below.
    Choose your newsletters:

    To stop this message from appearing for 30 days, Log in. If you’re a current subscriber, you can update your preferences by choosing a new combination.


    San Diego’s Top Stories Delivered to Your Inbox

    Get the FREE daily Morning Report.

    To stop this message from appearing for 30 days, Log in.


    Log In or Register

    Registered users can follow narratives, comment on articles, check donation history and more.

    If you’ve never logged in before, please create a free account. If you’re a VOSD member, please use the email address associated with your donations.

    Forgot Password?