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Morning Report: SDSU Is on the Hook to Deliver These Promises

SDSU plays a game at the former Qualcomm Stadium. / Photo courtesy of Ernie Anderson, San Diego State University

San Diego State University and the city of San Diego are about to engage in an unprecedented negotiation. The city will have to hand over the most valuable piece of under-utilized land it owns, and SDSU will have to make good on what became an ambitious list of promises in Measure G.

Scott Lewis and Ry Rivard collected the four biggest promises SDSU and its supporters have made over the last year. The university has talked about what it would pay for the land, how soon it would begin building and how it would pull off a new river park.

The promises are big, and they’re not going to be easy to pull off.

And we’re going to be watching.

There Are Still Votes Left to Count

The San Diego County registrar of voters still has about 490,000 ballots to process, including mail-in ballots and provisional ballots. So far, over 660,000 votes have been counted.

That seems like a lot – it’s about 40 percent of all the ballots turned in before and on Election Day. But it seems within the normal range of past elections. In 2016, there were about 620,000 mail and provisional ballots uncounted the day after the election.

There are nearly 1.8 million registered voters in San Diego County.

Continue to Keep an Eye on These Races

  • Outgoing San Diego City Councilman David Alvarez is less than a third of a percentage point ahead of Sean Elo, a community organizer, in their quest for the San Diego Community College board. Alvarez has said he only intends to hold the seat for two years in the event he’s elected supervisor in 2020, so the Democratic Party endorsed Elo, a first-time candidate, instead.
  • Escondido Mayor Sam Abed is having a tougher time in his re-election bid than many thought. He’s ahead of Paul McNamara by about 1.5 percentage points, or fewer than 400 votes. An immigrant himself, Abed has argued that the most common defense of so-called sanctuary policies — that they make undocumented communities safer — is a fiction, so he pushed his city to side with the Trump administration over California.
  • In San Diego City Council District 8, Vivian Moreno’s lead over Antonio Martinez shrunk Wednesday to about 4 percentage points. Moreno is an Alvarez staffer. Martinez is a San Ysidro School Board member.

Dems Ascendant in North County? Sorta

Activists in coastal North County have created a liberal support base that has never been seen there before. That anti-Trump energy helped flip the 49th Congressional District and 76th Assembly District for Democrats, but it didn’t trickle down to local races in any clear and consistent way.

Democrats won some and lost some — the most surprising of which happened in Carlsbad, where Cori Schumacher had appeared to be riding a wave of anti-developer sentiment toward the mayor’s seat. Yet Republican Matt Hall won re-election by double digits.

In the North County Report, Jesse Marx also writes that district-based elections were a mixed bag. But there were a couple notable victories for Latino candidates in cities that switched to by-district voting, which was the intention of redrawing electoral lines so that contenders would be chosen by their communities rather than citywide.

In Escondido, Consuelo Martinez, a bilingual community organizer, ousted a longtime Council member in a Latino-majority area.

Speaking of North County races … The 77th Assembly District was probably the most underappreciated in San Diego.

Since 2012, north suburban voters have sent Republican Brian Maienschein, a former San Diego city councilman, to Sacramento with between 15 and 30 percent margins of victory. He won a fourth term Tuesday, but by a more modest 6 points.

Sunday Gover, a Democrat, made health care the centerpiece of her campaign and attempted to capitalize on a growing number of independents who are disaffected by Trump.

Duncan Hunter Won. Now What?

East County voters re-elected Rep. Duncan Hunter, despite allegations that he illegally spent money from campaign donors on himself and his family.

Already, Hunter’s duties in the House were limited. Current Speaker Paul Ryan stripped him of his committee assignments, meaning Hunter isn’t as able to shape policy. Now that Democrats will take control of the House, they could choose to expel him, though expulsions are rare. If Hunter leaves office, a special election would have to be held to pick his replacement. (Vacant Senate seats can be filled by governors without an election, but members of the House must always be elected, a distinction created by the Constitution between the aristocratic Senate and the populist House.) Hunter and his wife, who is also charged with misspending donor money, are expected to be back in court on Dec. 3.

About Those Judicial Races

A number of San Diego voters got into the voting booth and wondered: What’s up with all these judges?

There were 18 judicial offices on the ballot. Of those, 16 were uncontested appeals court or Supreme Court judges, known as justices. Those justices are always on the ballot unopposed because they run in what’re known as retention elections.The governor appoints them and then they run to keep their seats.

But in the wake of the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court hearings, the public seemed skeptical of giving judges a free pass or at least more interested in knowing who they are. That’s why the San Diego County Bar Association put out a last-minute voter guide to try to let people know how this whole process works.

In the end, about a quarter to a third of voters opposed almost every judge on the ballot, opposition consistent with 2014 results. It takes a majority of “no” votes to reject a judge, but these results suggests some voters don’t like the idea of giving a free pass to anyone, or that voters simply aren’t comfortable supporting someone they don’t know much about. For example, according to results as of Wednesday afternoon, a larger percentage of San Diego voters (34.73 percent) opposed appellate court Justice Douglas P. Miller than supported Bonnie Dumanis (34.46 percent) for county supervisor, a well-known political figure who ran a contested campaign.

The only contested judicial seat on the ballot was a Superior Court judgeship. Judge Gary Kreep, known because of his “birther” conspiracy theories about President Barack Obama and for receiving a censure in 2017, lost to Matt Brower, a deputy district attorney.

In Other Election News

The Morning Report was written by Ry Rivard and Jesse Marx.

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