Who the San Diego Left Has Endorsed for the California Primary

By Frank Gormlie / OB Rag / Originally published May 18, 2012

Here is a summary of the candidates and propositions that San Diego’s different left-of-center and left-wing groups and media projects are endorsing for the June 5th California Primary. (Note: not all races are covered, especially those of smaller municipalities and non-controversial propositions).

First – of course, there is a left in San Diego politics – so, those who cannot accept it, get over it. (For a refresher course on left vs right, see here and here.)  The groups reviewed for their endorsements are all left or left-of-center.  And by reporting on any group’s choices does not mean that I necessarily endorse them, their choices, or politics.

I scanned the endorsements of the following news sources and organizations:

  • CityBeat – the weekly magazine is generally left-of-center in their views, policies, and endorsements.
  • Democratic Socialists of America – clearly a left organization – an out-and-out “socialist” stance. Here’s their endorsements in a pdf file: Download File
  • Progressive Democrats of America – they have a local progressive group, on the activist left side of the Democratic Party.
  • Democratic Party – most would label the County group on the left side of politics.
  • Progressive Post – this North County online publication offers progressive views – focused in the northern section of the San Diego County and participating in the Democratic Party.
  • Green Party of San Diego – Definitely part of the local left, they obviously endorsed their entire national slate of Green Party candidates, so we only focus on their local endorsements. The Greens only made two local endorsements of candidates.

Here is a summary of the endorsements, without details, and the ‘why’s or ‘why-not’s’  (Links to the different endorsements are provided above. Note: if a group is not mentioned, they made no formal endorsement, as some groups only made endorsements that they were comfortable with.)

San Diego City Races

Mayor of San DiegoBob Filner is the unanimous choice of every group.

San Diego City Council –

District 1Sherri Lightner is endorsed by CityBeat, Democratic Party and Progressive Post.  DSA has a dual endorsement: Lightner and Bryan Pease – an animal-rights activist and lawyer. The PDA and the Labor Council were not happy enough with Lightner to endorse her. The Green Party endorses Bryan Pease.

District 3 – Democrat and incumbent Todd Gloria is running unopposed. Only the Democratic Party and the Progressive Post actually came out and endorsed him, whereas PDA and the Labor Council explicitly failed to give him their support.

District 5 – Republican Mark Kersey is running unopposed for Carl DeMaio’s old seat.

District 7 – Everyone endorses Mat Kostrinsky. (Everyone excluding the Greens – who only endorsed Pease in District 1.)

District 9 – Marti Emerald – who moved over to run in the brand new district – is favored by everyone.

 San Diego County Board of Supervisors

District 1 – CityBeat, DSA, Democratic Party, and Progressive Post all endorsed Brant Will. Both PDA and the Labor Council failed to make a public choice.

District 2 – Three groups endorsed activist Rudy Reyes against stalwart and Republican Diane Jacobs: DSA, Democrats, Progressive Post. CityBeat likes Jacobs, and the Labor Council didn’t make a choice.

District 3 – Democrat Dave Roberts is favored by everyone, except PDA and Greens who didn’t make choices.

State Races

State Assembly

71st District – Patrick Hurley – a Democrat – is endorsed by all except PDA and Greens who didn’t make one.

75th District – Most groups have lined up behind Democrat Matthew Herold, although PDA and Labor Council and Greens didn’t make endorsements in this race.

76th District – No group made any endorsements in this race, except CityBeat which came out for Rocky Chavez, a Democrat.

77th District – This is one of the most divided races in terms of splitting the Left in this part of the state. DSA, the Democratic Party, and Progressive Post are backing R.J. Hernandez, yet the Labor Council supports Greg Laskaris, and CityBeat likes Brian Maienschein, a Republican who used to seat on the San Diego City Council.

78th District – Everyone is supporting local darling Toni Atkins.

79th District – This race is even more divided that the 77th. There are four Democrats running: Pat Washington, Rudy Ramirez, Shirley Weber, and Sid Voorakkara.  City Beat and DSA only endorsed Voorakkara; Progressive Post only endorsed Shirley Weber. PDA issued a triple endorsement: Voorakkara, Washington and Weber; the Labor Council did a dual endorsement: Voorakkara and Weber, and the Democratic Party didn’t endorse anybody.

80th District – Every group endorsed Ben Hueso, the Democrat and former San Diego City Council member, except PDA and Greens.

State Senate

39th District – Everyone is backing Democrat Marty Block, except DSA and Greens, neither of which made an endorsement.

US Congress

49th District – CityBeat and the more progressive and liberal groups endorse Dick Eiden, including the Green Party in one of their few local endorsements. The Democratic Party and the Labor Council b0th endorse Jerry Tetalman.

50th District – CityBeat, DSA and Progressive Post support newbie David Secor, whereas the Democrats did not make any endorsement of either Secor or Connie Frankowiak. PDA and the Labor Council made no endorsements.

51st District – This race between two fairly well known Democrat politicians could have been more divided than it is. Juan Vargas and Denise Ducheny are going against each other for Bob Filner’s old seat. Yet, CityBeat, DSA, and Progressive Post support Ducheny, with the Democratic Party and the Labor Council endorsing Vargas. PDA did not make an endorsement here.

52nd District – Another divided race pitting well-known Democrats against each other. Here Scott Peters and Lori Saldana are squaring off, creating a dilemma for some liberals and progressives. Saldana is being endorsed by DSA and Progressive Post, whereas Peters is endorsed by CityBeat and the Labor Council with Lorena Gonzalez making a personal pitch on behalf of Peters. PDA and the Democrats either endorse both or neither.

53rd District – Everybody lined up behind Susan Davis, despite some grumbling in the ranks.


San Diego Unified School Board

District AJohn Lee Evans is universally endorsed.

District D – Ricard Barrera is running unopposed, and everyone endorsed him.

District E – New-comer Marne Foster is favored by every group surveyed.

County Board of Education

1st DistrictGregg Robinson is endorsed by DSA, Labor Council, the Democrats, and Progressive Post. Robinson is active in his AFT local as he is a tenured sociology professor at Grossmont.  Plus Robinson was one of the first bloggers with us at the OB Rag. Only CityBeat, the Greens, and PDA didn’t make any endorsement here.

2nd DistrictLyn Neylon is supported by every group, but CityBeat, Green Party, and PDA – who didn’t make any endorsement.

4th District – Mark Anderson is backed by each group, except CityBeat, PDA and the Greens.

Community College Board

B District – Bernie Rhinerson racked up 5 of 6 endorsements.

D DistrictMary Graham is running unopposed.

Superior Court Judges

Seat #24 – Every group except PDA – which did not make an endorsement – supports Terrie Roberts for this judgeship.

Seat #25 – George Schaefer is endorsed by all, exept PDA, who did not make one.

Seat #34 – Garland Peed, a moderate Republican, is endorsed by three groups: CityBeat, DSA and Progressive Post – mostly because his opponent Gary Kreep is a far-right, religious extremist and Tea Party type.


Prop A – Universally condemned by all. No.

Prop B – The Left stands united against this  one. No.

Prop 28 – The Term Limits measure is supported by everyone except the Green Party. Yes.

Prop 29 – The cigarette tax is supported by all except the Labor Council which took no position. Yes.

A lawyer and grassroots activist, I was finally convinced by Patty Jones to start the OB Rag, a blog of citizen journalists, after she got tired of listening to my rants about the news. Way back during the Dinosaurs in 1970, I founded the original Ocean Beach People’s Rag - OB’s famous underground newspaper -, and then later during the early Eighties, published The Whole Damn Pie Shop, a progressive alternative to the Reader.


  1. avatarAlex Sachs says

    curious as to why the San Diego Democrats for Equality were not included in your self-defined list of the ‘left’. In my experience as a member of the Club, it is a strongly progressive organization, more so than the labor council on many occasions. The SDDE places a high value on the views of candidates on a woman’s right to choose, for example, while for the labor council that is an issue not-so-much. The SDDE recently withdrew a dual endorsement of Vargas and Ducheny, for example, based upon a bad vote on choice by Vargas. Also would be nice to see an explanation that the Democratic Party (and SDDE, for that matter) did not endorse on some occasions due to rules requiring a super-majority or certain threshold of the vote, rather than potentially giving the impression that some grops did not consider these important races. SDDE, by the way, endorses Filner, Peters, Ducheny, Roberts (a gay man), and failed to endorse in the 79th, where Sid, Dr. Washington and Dr. Weber all had significant support. Thanks.

  2. avatar says

    I am sorry that you omitted Democracy for America from your local Progressive Groups which have gone through an endorsement process. E.G., in the key 52nd C.D. race they clearly chose Lori Saldana over Scott Peters to oppose Rep. Brian Bilbray in the fall, and gave her their national progressive endorsement as well. Howard Dean, their founder and former DNC Chair came into the district on her behalf. Another group that you omitted was MoveOn, although less progressive than DFA and PDA, locally, they do go through an endorsement process, and clearly endorsed Lori Saldana over Scott Peters. Without the endorsement of every Democratic Club in her district, DFA, MoveOn, PDA, Emily’s list, Progressive Post, and many others progressive groups , she would not be leading Peters in the polls as the election approaches, and standing up to the attempts to smear her that Peters’ millions are pouring on in the campaign’s final days.