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Morning Report: What Women Candidates and Officeholders Face

Carlsbad Councilwoman Priya Bhat-Patel, shown speaking at the 2019 Women’s March, said she’s filed two police reports against two men she said threatened and stalked her since she took office. / Photo by Vito Di Stefano

Women candidates and officeholders from all corners of the county said they’ve been the target of harassment and threats.

Kayla Jimenez reports that the emotional distress often came in the form of vitriolic social media posts, but also included phone calls and text messages [1]. One contender for the Board of Supervisors said she saw people who opposed her campaign hanging around her house before the March primary.

Some of the threats wound up in police reports and restraining orders. Black, Latina and Asian women, as well as those who identify as LGBTQ, often faced the worst of it.

Over the summer, the San Diego County Democratic Party censured one of its candidates after finding a pattern of harassment that included posting a picture of another candidate’s home and children. Toxicity on the campaign trail was an open topic of conversation at an Encinitas forum in October. Both the Democratic mayor and her Republican challenger swapped stories.

Some of the women said the threats ultimately strengthened their resolve to run for office, but many worried that the hostile treatment they’d received would deter others in the future. 

Sign of the Times: Oceanside’s Mayoral Race

Oceanside City Councilwoman Esther Sanchez was among the women who spoke to Jimenez about harassment and bullying she’d experienced on the campaign trail. On Tuesday, she became the city’s next mayor, the only woman in the jam-packed race [2]

Jimenez writes that the ascent of Sanchez, who grew up on the east side of town, marks a partisan shift for the city and is further evidence of the region’s realigning politics. Republicans are receding from some of the most influential governments [3]. Oceanside is the most populous city in North County. 

Sanchez said she’ll prioritize investments for Black and Brown communities, affordable housing for veterans and seniors, more shelter beds for homeless residents and an independent oversight board that will investigate complaints against police officers.

Takeaways from the California Election

California voters re-elected many of the state’s legislators last week but undid some of the Legislature’s most high-profile recent work.

Sara Libby has a few takeaways in the Sacramento Report [4]. The state keeps electing Democrats, she writes, but that doesn’t mean actual policies are getting more progressive.

The most notable example was the passage of Proposition 22, the success of which shows the power of gig companies with enough cash to write themselves out of the state’s employment laws. Uber, Lyft and Doordash poured more than $200 million into the yes campaign, which also had the backing of some newspaper editorial boards.

Prop. 22 was a carving out of AB 5, which was written by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, but anti-AB 5 candidates didn’t do well locally. 

Winners, Losers and More Election News

Every election has winners and losers beyond the candidates who prevailed or didn’t. In a special edition of the Politics Report, Scott Lewis and Andrew Keatts break them down [5].

In Other News

The Morning Report was written by Jesse Marx, and edited by Sara Libby.